NADLER IN 1999: ‘Such an impeachment will produce the divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) House Democrats have announced they are in favor of an impeachment inquiry in an attempt to remove President Donald Trump from office.
But just two decades ago, when President Bill Clinton faced impeachment, many of the same Democratic leaders calling for Trump’s removal opposed the idea of a partisan impeachment entirely, calling it dangerous for democracy.
Take, for example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been reluctant to press forward with impeachment up until now, when a whistleblower report accused Trump of asking Ukrainian officials for dirt on Joe Biden. Pelosi accused Trump of a “betrayal of his oath of office.”
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said on Tuesday. “We don’t ask foreign governments to help us in our election.”
But Pelosi said in 1999 that Republicans’ concerns about the legitimacy of Clinton’s presidency were motivated by “vengeance.”
“We are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton; and until the Republicans free themselves of this hatred, our country will suffer,” she said on the House floor.
Similarly, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who released a statement this week in support of impeachment due to “grave concerns about the President’s troubling admission that he sought Ukrainian interference in the 2020 election,” once slammed Congress for pursuing impeachment, which he claimed was “partisan” and “driven, I believe, by animus.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has been at the forefront of the congressional investigations into Trump’s affairs in an attempt to rally Democrats behind impeachment. Removing Trump would “vindicate the Constitution,” Nadler said last week.
“We have to show that this kind of behavior — trashing the Constitution, trashing all the norms which guarantee democratic government, aggrandizing power to the Presidency and destroying the separation of powers and thereby leading the President to become more and more of a tyrant cannot be tolerated. And it cannot be normalized,” Nadler said. “We have to make sure the next President or the one after him or her knows there’s a real penalty to be paid. That’s why the impeachment is necessary, even if we cannot get a vote in the Senate.”
But like Pelosi and Hoyer, Nadler opposed Clinton’s impeachment: “Such an impeachment will produce the divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions,” said in 1999. “This is clearly a partisan railroad job…You may have the votes, you may have the muscle, but you do not have the legitimacy of a national consensus or of a constitutional imperative.”
Another example is Rep. Jim McGovern, who helped lead the charge against Trump during the Russia-Gate investigation.
“If we don’t hold this president accountable, it might be too late by the time he’s gone. Years from now our children and grandchildren will look back on this era and judge us by what we did Now is not the time to shrink from our responsibility,” McGovern said earlier this year.
Well, during the Clinton presidency, McGovern said that even considering impeachment was an embarrassment and a “disservice.”
Our “traditions” and “Constitution” are “under siege today,” McGovern said before Congress. “They are victims of an ill-timed, unfair, and partisan process that does a great disservice not only to the President of the United States, but to the people of this country… The American people want Congress to act on the real issues that face our country…Instead, the majority in Congress will continue their partisan drumbeat of scandal, scandal, scandal.”
Rep. Maxine Waters of California has also been calling for Trump’s impeachment since the day he was elected.
“All I can tell you is I’m for impeachment, I’ve always been, I’ve never changed my mind,” Waters said earlier this year.
Back in 1999, she felt differently: “This is indeed a Republican coup-d’etat,” she said. “The Republicans are the vehicles being used by the right-wing, Christian coalition extremists to direct and control our culture…I am greatly disappointed in the raw, unmasked, unbridled hatred and meanness that drives this impeachment coup-d’etat. The unapologetic disregard for the voice of the people.”