Is Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Al.) for real? That’s what some are wondering after the politician claimed that current Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would be the first president subject to impeachment on her first day in office.
Huffington Post notes that Mo Brooks has made a series of questionable comments about punishing Clinton in relation to the ongoing (and increasingly forced) email scandal.
— Michael King (@mhking) October 20, 2015
“Let’s be real clear about Hillary Clinton,” said Brooks, “It’s not about emails — It’s about national security and how many lives she put at risk by violating all rules of law that are designed to protect America’s top secret and classified information from falling into the hands of our geopolitical foes.”
But the most interesting of all came during an interview on Monday with MSNBC.
“[I]n my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.”
This is a curious statement to make, as there have been seven different investigations into the Benghazi attacks, none of which has found any wrongdoing linked to former Secretary Clinton. The eighth and ongoing investigation is mired in controversy, as it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the GOP-led effort is focused almost entirely on Hillary Clinton.
The Republicans have fought hard to justify their attacks on the former Secretary of State — particularly in the aftermath of a gaffe by Rep. Kevin McCarthy that strongly suggested the investigation was being used to hurt Hillary politically.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, [and] what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened.”
Between this and the claims of a former investigator for the committee, it’s increasingly easy to argue a partisan agenda on the part of GOP Congress members. So the party’s credibility is not aided by Mo Brooks and his suggestion that a woman who hasn’t even won her party’s nomination to compete for the presidency anticipate impeachment.
— Meet the Press (@meetthepress) October 20, 2015
The committee has spent millions in taxpayer money seeking a “smoking gun” that will prove that Hillary Clinton broke the law. The closest they came was a series of private emails, which have yet to reveal what seven other investigations did not. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders notes many Americans are sick of hearing about “[Clinton’s] damn emails” as there are more pressing political issues to address. The positive response to the unpolished declaration strongly suggests that Sanders may be on to something.
As for Mo Brooks, it’s possible his declaration signals that he might not quite understand what impeachment actually is or how it works. Let’s look at what Congress For Kids has to say about the American impeachment process.
“When a new president is elected to office, he or she takes an oath that lists many heavy responsibilities. Abuse of power or failure to uphold these responsibilities cannot be tolerated.
The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the right to impeach the president. Impeachment means that a charge of misconduct is filed against the president. A majority of the members of the House must vote for these charges in order to impeach the president.
After the charges of misconduct are filed, the Senate has the power to try impeachment cases like a court. Two-thirds of the senators must vote for conviction. The president may be removed from office and never allowed to hold a government position again if he is found guilty.”
So then, let’s examine this step by step.
First, the President has to commit acts of wrongdoing. Hillary Clinton is not and has never been president. As mentioned before, seven different investigations failed to find her guilty of all the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that Mo Brooks is convinced she committed. Attempting to impeach Hillary Clinton on her first day (should she even be elected) simply makes no sense. It reads like a personal grudge rather than a logical aspect of the political process.
Second, impeaching a president does not guarantee their removal from office. I mean, Hillary was married to the last president to be subject to impeachment: Bill Clinton. Americans who were alive during the process can tell Brooks that it ended with Clinton serving out the rest of his second term.
Third, Mo Brooks seems to have forgotten that the office of president isn’t the only thing being contested in 2016. According to Ballotpedia, there are a total of 469 seats (34 in the Senate and 435 in the House) up for grabs.
While Ballotpedia believes Democrats will likely not have a chance to gain enough seats to become a majority (as the GOP currently enjoys a “super majority”), there is a strong chance that they can make enough gains in the Senate — where an impeached president is tried — to make removing Hillary Clinton from office impossible for Republicans (should she even be elected). It’s also possible that not enough members of the House will fall in line to bother impeaching Hillary in the first place, especially if the “email fiasco” proves to be too embarrassing due to its increasingly partisan nature.
It’s worth wondering if Rep. Mo Brooks is so gung-ho about taking the former Secretary of State to task for imagined misdoings because she called out Alabama last week. The state is being accused of abusing loopholes created by a Supreme Court decision to carefully and methodically make it extremely difficult for the state’s African American population to vote. During a luncheon with Alabama’s largest black Democratic caucus, Hillary called the state’s policies a “blast from the Jim Crow past”.
— Colorlines.com (@Colorlines) October 19, 2015
In any case, it’s still far too early to reasonably speculate about whether or not a presidential candidate is impeachable. Especially since it’s still very possible that Hillary Clinton might not get her party’s nomination.
What do you think of Mo Brooks claiming Hillary Clinton can (and should) be impeached on her first day? What are these “high crimes and misdemeanors” that Mo Brooks are referring to that have yet to be discovered over the course of several investigations?
[Photo by Erich Schlegel/Drew Angerer/Getty Images]