Clinton's advice for impeachment inquiry: Don't pursue for 'trivial partisan political purposes'
Posted August 8, 2019 2:20 p.m. EDT
CNN — Hillary Clinton's advice to those handling an impeachment inquiry into a president: do not pursue for partisan reasons, do not hold press conferences and do not leak information.
Her advice came during a newly surfaced hour-long interview centered on Clinton's experience working for John Doar, the special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, as he oversaw the inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
The former Democratic presidential nominee was asked what the country should learn from the House of Representative's role in the 1974 impeachment inquiry into Nixon and Watergate.
The 1974 inquiry led the House Judiciary Committee to approve three articles of impeachment against Nixon and send the panel's recommendation to the full House for a vote. Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 before the Democratic-controlled House could hold a vote.
"I think that it's such a serious undertaking. Do not pursue it for trivial partisan political purposes. If it does fall to you while you're in the House to examine abuses of power by the president, be as circumspect and careful as John Doar was," Clinton said in a July 2018 interview with the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum that was posted in June. Politico first resurfaced the interview on Thursday.
Clinton's interview is especially pertinent as House Democrats consider whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
"Restrain yourself from grand standing and holding news conferences and playing to your base," Clinton said, adding that an impeachment inquiry "goes way beyond" whose side "you're on or who's on your side."
"And try to be faithful purveyors of the history and the solemnity of the process," Clinton said.
She also added that the "lesson was not learned" during the House impeachment investigation against her husband, then-President Bill Clinton in 1998. The Republican-led House approved two articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton for lying under oath to a jury and obstruction of justice in his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Senate acquitted the Democratic President of both articles of impeachment.
"(Impeachment inquiries) should not be done for political partisan purposes. So, those who did it in the late 90s, those who talk about it now, should go back and study the painstaking approach that the impeachment inquiry staff took," Clinton said.
"And it was bipartisan," Clinton noted. "You had a bipartisan staff and you had both Democratic and Republican members of the committee reaching the same conclusions that there were grounds for impeachment."
Clinton said she was "not all happy or jubilant" about Nixon's resignation, calling it a "very sad chapter " in America's history.
"And it was a really very unfortunate, sad outcome," Clinton said.