The chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations committee last week promised that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a nonstop parade of investigations. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said his staff has already assembled two years’ worth of material -- enough to consume the entire 115th Congress. But if other Republicans have their way, Clinton might not even remain in office through those first two years.
Republican candidate Donald Trump has been hammering on the news that the FBI is investigating a trove of emails related to Clinton’s controversial use of a private server while serving as secretary of state, and warning of the problems that would come with having a president under FBI investigation. On Wednesday, though, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani took things a step further.
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“I think that if Clinton should get elected, I guarantee you, in one year she’ll be impeached,” the former mayor of New York said. “One year. And indicted -- it’s just going to happen.”
Giuliani isn’t alone, either. On Tuesday, embattled Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, in an interview with the editorial board of the Beloit Daily News, said that he believes Clinton ought to be impeached if she is elected. He based his opinion on a reading of federal law about the mishandling of information related to national defense.
“She purposefully circumvented it, this was willful concealment and destruction,” Johnson said, referring to her use of the private email server.
“I'm not a lawyer, but this is clearly written,” Johnson said, adding that he believes her actions fall under the “high crimes and misdemeanor” requirement for a perjury prosecution in the House of Representatives. (As a senator, Johnson would have to vote on articles of impeachment approved by the House.)
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When asked about the FBI’s conclusion, after reviewing thousands of other emails, not to recommend criminal charges, Johnson called the agency’s finding a “corrupt conclusion.”
Former House Republican majority leader Tom DeLay also jumped on the impeachment train this week. Speaking on The Steve Malzberg Show, DeLay said that Republicans should start impeachment proceedings immediately if Clinton is elected.
The call to impeach Clinton if she’s elected isn’t exactly new. Last month, for instance, Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne told supporters that his staff has already begun looking into the process, just in case.
“If all the things we've seen are true and they come out the way I think they will, then we should impeach her,” said Byrne. “I know that impeachment is an extreme measure but I'm seeing extreme things.”
In an interview Sunday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia slipped and referred to an “impeachment” of Clinton -- correcting himself to say that he was discussing only a “perjury” charge. (Perjury is what earned President Bill Clinton an impeachment trial during his second term, so it’s not hard to see where Goodlatte’s going with this.)
Now, though, the idea of immediately impeaching a president Clinton seems to be creeping up the GOP’s legislative food chain. And it carries with it the promise that if Clinton is elected, the drama of the 2016 election, rather than disappearing after Nov. 8, will simply morph into a new form and stay with us indefinitely.