House Democrats should look no further than the 1998 Bill Clinton impeachment effort untaken by a Republican-led Congress to determine President Donald Trump’s alleged wrongdoings do not meet the standard for impeachment, according to Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).
During an appearance Monday on Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Brooks explained how precedent dictates that the pursuit of Trump’s impeachment is a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
“First you have to look at the statute that the Democrats are accusing Trump of violating, which I think is very questionable – their conclusions,” Brooks said. “And I can go through that statute if you wish. Then you have to determine if that constitutes a high crime, misdemeanor, treason or bribery. Well, we have precedent. Precedent is where you go back, and you see how we’ve handled similar matters before in order to give us guidance on how to handle them this time. If you go back to Bill Clinton when he was impeached in the House but acquitted in the Senate, his crimes – felony perjury, felony obstruction of justice, he confessed to them, carried penalties 10 years.”
“More if you added them all together with all the different crimes put together,” he continued. “But the maximum punishment was 10 years. Donald Trump’s so-called crime is a Federal Election Commission statute or law. And it can be broken down into three different ways if FEC would handle it. One is administrative remedies. There would be an administrative fine. For example, Barack Obama, or his campaign, had to pay a $375,000 administrative fine. Then you’ve got the next more serious level, which is a civil penalty. And then finally, if the Federal Election Commission decides it is serious enough, then they can say this is an honest-to-goodness criminal offense. And the penalty is up to five years, OK?”
The Alabama Republican pointed out that the alleged wrongdoing of Clinton carried a penalty double that of what Trump has been accused.
“So you’ve got Donald Trump, who the Democrats say and I disagree, but they say that he violated a statute that carries a five-year penalty,” he added. “That is half what Bill Clinton was acquitted of in his impeachment trial. So if you believe in equal protection, which is the 14th Amendment, that the law is supposed to treat everybody equally, I’m at a loss as to why the Democrats want to impeach someone for half of the severity of conduct that Bill Clinton was acquitted of in the 1990s. And I’m a firm believer in treating everybody equally. And in this instance, that does not look like what the socialist want to do.”
On whether or not the impeachment is a political process, to which given Democrats are in control of the U.S. House of Representatives and can “make up the rules as they go along,” Brooks argued Democrats would still be in violation of their oath to uphold and obey the Constitution.
“They took an oath to uphold and obey the United States Constitution,” Brooks said. “I took it. Senators take it. All other House members take it. And the Constitution says the standard for impeachment – there has to be a high crime or misdemeanor, bribery or a treason. If you go with the political, ‘Oh hey, I can do anything I want because it is all political argument,’ well then you’re not obeying your oath of office, and you’re disregarding the United States Constitution.”
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