White House lawyer Eric Herschmann argued on Monday evening in the Senate that by House Democrats’ standards for impeachment, President Barack Obama should have been impeached and removed from office.
Herschmann used Democrats’ own definition of “abuse of power,” laid down by House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) last week, to show that Obama met all the elements of the standard.
He began by playing the infamous March 2012 video of Obama caught on a “hot mic” telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev — a stand-in for Vladimir Putin — that he needed more “space” until he was re-elected, but would have more “flexibility” on missile defense afterwards. Medvedev agreed to give the message to Putin.
In other words, Herschmann explained, Obama asked a foreign leader for a political favor, sacrificing the security of the United States and our European allies for the sake of his own re-election.
Herschmann recalled that when then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — sitting in the Senate as one of Utah’s two delegates — made Russia the focus of his foreign policy in 2012, Obama mocked him.
Obama’s conduct, Herschmann said, met all of the Democrats’ elements of “abuse of power”: “1. The president exercises his official power … 2. To obtain a corrupt personal benefit … 3. While ignoring or injuring our national interest.”
Herschmann noted that Obama had also given up on missile defense in Eastern Europe in 2009, and that the request to Medvedev came in 2012. Following that, he pointed out, Russia invaded Crimea, seizing it from Ukraine, convinced that the Obama administration would never respond.
By their own standard, Herschmann concluded, Democrats should have impeached Obama, too.
“The case against Obama would have been far stronger than the case against Trump. … Where were the House managers then?” he said, accusing them of violating the principle of “equal justice” with their double standard.
In contrast, he pointed out, Trump had actually confronted Russia and armed the Ukrainians.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.