1999 vs. 2019: Senate Republicans’ attitudes on impeachment sure have changed a lot
contributed by Mary Ellen Blencoe
Senate Republicans have very different takes on impeaching Trump versus impeaching Clinton.
Original Story – By Li Zhou and Hannah Brown, VOX, Updated Oct 2, 2019, 6:19pm EDT
In 1999, Senate Republicans were eager to condemn Bill Clinton for his abuse of the presidential office. But 20 years later, they’re giving President Donald Trump a lot more breathing room. Fourteen current members of the Senate were serving in Congress during Clinton’s impeachment proceedings — and at least 10 are striking an entirely different tone with their approach to Trump.
Clinton: “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
Trump: “Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger. Democrats have lost their minds when it comes to President Trump,” he said in a September statement in reaction to a summary the White House released of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Clinton: “The President would seek to win at any cost,” he said, according to Newsweek. “If it meant lying to the American people. If it meant lying to his Cabinet. The name of the game was winning. Winning at any cost.”
Trump: “I’ve read the summary of the call. If this is the ‘launching point’ for House Democrats’ impeachment process, they’ve already overplayed their hand,” he told Politico last month. “It’s clear there is no quid pro quo that the Democrats were desperately praying for.”
Clinton: “I choose to be on the side that says no person is above the law,” he said, according to Business Insider.
Trump: “We have enough problems in Washington, D.C., in working together to get things done,” he told reporters in Topeka.
Clinton: “The President’s actions are having a profound impact on our society. His misdeeds have caused many to mistrust elected officials. Cynicism is swelling among the grass roots. His breach of trust has eroded the public’s faith in the office of the Presidency.” (New York Times)
Trump: “Democrats have been searching for any reason to impeach President Trump since his inauguration because they couldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election.”
“This all reeks of hypocrisy considering former Vice President Joe Biden has already said he used his office and taxpayer dollars to pressure Ukraine’s president into taking specific law enforcement actions that directly benefited his son. The attention on unverified reports instead of an on-record admission shows why Americans are so distrustful of politicians and the media.” (Grassley statement)
Clinton: “I believe the facts presented by the judiciary committee prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton repeatedly lied to a grand jury and encouraged a witness before that grand jury to provide false information. The United States is a nation of laws, not men.” (The Guardian)
Trump: “Don’t expect us to move at light speed — that will probably happen in the House.” (PBS)
Clinton: “I really believe that the President of the United States should be held to the very highest of standards. You know, Winston Churchill said: ‘Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.’ I think we have seen the truth.” (CNN)
Trump: “Democrats have been conducting an impeachment investigation for months, and they’ve been investigating President Trump since he took office. Today’s announcement by Speaker Pelosi, while an escalation of Democrat smear tactics, is nothing new.” (Inhofe statement)
Clinton: “For myself, I believe the evidence of serious wrongdoing is simply too compelling to be swept aside. I am particularly troubled by the clear evidence of lying under oath in that it must be the bedrock of our judicial system.” (CSPAN)
Trump: “The American people want us to get things done for them rather than focus on more and more partisan investigations. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry will distract Congress from the bipartisan legislative work we should be doing to find solutions and deliver results for the American people.” (Portman statement)
Clinton: “Do these actions rise to the level envisioned by our founding fathers in the Constitution as ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ so warranting removal from office? Our Constitution requires that the threshold for that judgment must be set by each senator sitting as a juror. Again, I believe an open-minded individual applying Kansas common sense would reach the conclusion that I reached.” (CBS News)
Trump: “It’s been a crazy year.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Political theater.” (WOWT News)
Clinton: “The rule of law is more important that the tenure in office of any elected official. The facts in this case are not really in dispute. Even some of his most vocal defenders do not deny that this president repeatedly lied under oath. He also obstructed justice and abused his office.” (Daily Journal)
Trump: “The political left has made a bad habit of drawing conclusions about President Trump without knowing all of the facts. It appears they have done so again. The transcript of the President’s phone call provides no evidence of wrongdoing.” (Clarion Ledger)
Clinton: “Our entire legal system is dependent on our ability to find the truth. That is why perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes. … Perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes that strike at the heart of the rule of law — and therefore our freedom — in America.” (Idaho Statesman)
Trump: “I always prefer Congress remain a legislative body that advances legislation to benefit the American people. As to the question of impeachment, our entire legal system is dependent on our ability to find the truth. I will wait for further information regarding the facts of this matter.” (Crapo statement)
Clinton: “After reviewing the evidence, I believe that the House managers proved beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton obstructed justice. Therefore, I voted for his conviction and removal for the offenses charged in Article II. However, I do not believe that the House managers met the legal requirements of proving perjury beyond a reasonable doubt.” (New York Times)
Trump: “The worst possible precedent…This is not something that Congress necessarily has to have its hands on…What about all the other conversations that the presidents of the United States have with foreign leaders and so forth? A lot of that is not for public consumption, I would imagine.” (The Hill)
Clinton: “[Clinton] was intending to influence the testimony of a likely witness in a federal civil rights proceeding.” (CBS News)
Trump: Effectively, no comment. (Wyoming Public Media)
Clinton: “No president can be allowed to subvert the judiciary or thwart the investigative responsibility of the legislature. There is clear evidence that President Clinton committed perjury on two or more occasions, and urged others to obstruct justice.” (Congressional Record)
Trump: “I would still anticipate that we are largely going to see a partisan exercise in the House. I believe they have reached a conclusion that a majority of their members, if not all of their members, are ready to move on the impeachment question. And I think they’re likely to do that no matter where the facts lead. But then we’ll see what happens after that.” (St. Louis Public Radio)
Clinton: “This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make in my career, and it is not a decision I enjoy making. However, after much study, much thought and much prayer, I have come to the following conclusion: Either we are a Nation of laws or we are not, and if we are, then those laws have to apply equally to all people.” (Congressional Record)
Trump: “If you’re the leadership over there, you got to think long and hard about what the implications are if it looks like you’re overreaching.” (The Hill)