Former Bush Lawyer: Trump is Guilty of “Impeachable Offense”
The former chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, Richard Painter, has spent the last six months finding every opportunity he can to criticize President Donald Trump. Whether it’s on MSNBC, the pages of an op-ed, or on social media, Painter seems to feel that everyone in the Western hemisphere badly needs to know what he’s thinking about the current president at any given time. And with every successive post, appearance, or tweet, Painter ascends to a higher horse and his allegations against Trump take on greater and greater absurdity.
This week, Painter decided he had a big problem with President Trump calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information. While Trump’s tweet was almost certainly intended to nudge Sessions toward walking off the job so that the president could replace him with someone with a little more control over the Russia investigation, Painter was sounding the alarm bells and calling on Republicans to throw the president out of office.
“Pressuring AG to prosecute the person who lost the election is an impeachable offense if we value free elections,” Painter wrote on Twitter.
Really? An impeachable offense?
First of all, no it isn’t.
Second, Trump has already said on multiple occasions that he has little interest in turning up the heat on the Hillary Clinton investigation, so let’s be serious about what this is. Trump wants Robert Mueller reined in, and he’s disgusted with the fact that Sessions compromised himself to the point where he had to recuse himself from the investigation. The Hillary stuff is just another way for him to needle Sessions publicly and drive him to the point where he’s finally had enough. We have our own opinions about this odd strategy, but then again, we’re not the ones facing a witch hunt of epic proportions.
But okay, let’s assume that Trump really does want another investigation into Hillary’s crimes. So what? It’s not like he’s pulling this story out of thin air, so let’s dispense with the banana republic rhetoric. Hillary Clinton really did break the law. Does she somehow get a free pass from all future prosecutions just because she happened to be the 2016 Democratic nominee for president? To put it another way, if Hillary Clinton had won and she was nudging the Justice Department to investigate Trump on charges of collusion, would Painter be calling for her impeachment? We somehow doubt it.
Lawbreaking is lawbreaking, and no one can seriously suggest that Hillary paid for her crimes. What happened with that FBI investigation last summer was a mockery of justice. We’re not sure that prosecuting Hillary should be the number one priority for the Trump administration, but it WOULD correct a blatant wrong from the Lynch/Obama era. It would certainly not be an impeachable offense, but ya know, haters gonna hate.