Although Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd conveniently thinks that U.S. presidents are above the law and can’t be removed from office for obstructing justice, Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell, and dozens of other GOP members of Congress disagree.
At least they strongly disagreed back in 1999, when it suited their agenda to get Bill Clinton impeached for his obstruction of justice during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
Back then, Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Senator said, “The facts are disturbing and compelling on the President’s intent to obstruct justice.” And Sessions wasn’t alone.
According to Politico:
More than 40 current GOP members of Congress voted for the impeachment or removal of Clinton from office for obstruction of justice. They include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who mounted his own passionate appeal to remove Clinton from office for obstruction of justice – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who was a House member at the time.
During Clinton’s trial, after he was impeached by the House, Sessions said, “The chief law officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to defend the law, and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen…Under our Constitution, equal justice requires that he forfeit his office.”
According to Politico:
Sessions’ argument for finding presidential obstruction concerned Clinton’s attempts defeat a civil action against him. “Since the truth would be damaging, he took steps to see that the truth concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky would never come out.” Sessions argued at the time. That obstruction began, he said, when Clinton lied to the courts under oath and worked to influence witnesses, including Lewinsky.
“The president coached his personal secretary twice to ensure that if she were called as a witness in the civil case she would not contradict his testimony given the day before. The president intentionally lied to aides in an effort to have them mislead the public and the grand jury,” Sessions went on. “This is to me a clear pattern of obstruction of justice.”
Mitch McConnell wholeheartedly agreed that obstruction of justice was a high crime, saying that Clinton was “in violation of the federal obstruction of justice law.” He also expressed frustration with anyone who disagreed. “I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors,” McConnell said.
Sessions wasn’t just following the letter of the law – he was also considering the importance of an ethical and moral compass that our country must maintain. “Of course, none of us are perfect and we often fail in our personal affairs, but when it comes to going to court, and its comes to our justice system, a great nation must insist on honesty and lawfulness…Our country must insist upon that for every citizen.” Yes, Jeff, that’s right, honesty and lawfulness.
Image: Gage Skidmore