MSNBC Panel Dismisses Clinton Impeachment: Unlike Trump, He Didn’t Hurt America!

Listen to the Article!

Along with their over-the-top nonsense about the perils of not impeaching and removing President Trump, panelists on Tuesday’s Hardball argued that President Bill Clinton shouldn’t have been impeached because, unlike the Ukraine phone call, the crimes he committed never hurt anyone and didn’t harm the country in any way whatsoever. 

Two decades later, former Clinton administration deputy chief of staff Maria Echaveste continued to play the role of Clinton spin agent, telling host Chris Matthews that “the impeachment in 1998 did not threaten the republic, did not threaten our country, and it's quite in contrast to what this President has done.”

 

 

As those who were more cogent and of age during those proceedings, this squared with the prevailing arguments at the time that consensual sexual foreplay isn’t illegal or a heinous crime, no harm, no foul! 

Clinton staffers and media defenders long argued that his impeachment wasn’t about perjury, but about sex while the then-President acted as if he were above the law with complete contempt for Independent Counsel Ken Starr.

Going back to Echaveste, she pivoted to why the Trump impeachment is worthwhile, arguing that “the second Article which obstruction of Congress is basically, if left unchallenged, allows a president to act like a king, to say he is above the law and cannot be — there can be no oversight by Congress, and that is a direct blow to our institution.”

She then continued on, appearing more emotional the more she spoke (click “expand”):

ECHAVESTE: So as hard as it was and is for the country, I think these narrow Articles of impeachment ought to be something that Americans across party lines, and that's what I really hope our Republican colleagues will focus. This President has delivered on your agenda in so many ways, please put the interests of the country ahead of your ideological agenda. 

MATTHEWS: What do you think the Congress should have done with Clinton when the word got out — the country knew he had lied in the deposition, he had purged himself? What should have been the proper action of the U.S. government in both parties? 

ECHAVESTE: Well, you know, hindsight is 20/20. I think at one point there was talk of censure that, I think, really would have been appropriate. I'm not condoning what the President did in terms of lying under oath, but again, it did not threaten national security. It did not threaten our country. What President Trump has done — censure — frankly, is it will not stop a future president from saying I am above the law and this President obviously believes he is above the law.

So, the President committing perjury? Not a big deal. But foreign aid being delayed? It’s the end of America as we know it!

Like a lot of rhetoric being served up on cable news since the Ukraine phone call broke, Echaveste’s words could be at least debatable if it weren’t for the fact that this hysterical nonsense has been prevalent since before the 2016 election. 

In other words, it’s another chapter in this real-life Boy Who Cried Wolf.

At the end of her diatribe, Matthews swooned that she “did a great job of answering that question because that was a smart answer” and provided “a nonpartisan intelligent answer.” Amazing.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) was also listening in and stated that “President Clinton lied about a sexual affair, that was not a good thing, but it wasn't about his presidential powers” that harmed our national security. 

Instead, Lofgren pathetically boiled down Clinton’s actions to a violation of “his husband powers.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on December 10, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 10, 2019
7:08 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Maria, let's talk about leadership and politics. I guess we might talk about gender too. This is woman speaker who's making history tonight with these Articles of impeachment. I watched that press conference and we're looking at it right now. There's no doubt who the boss is. I mean, she brought — she basically escorted them in, said who's going to talk. It was rehearsed, organized. She was herding cats as we might say of any Repub — or Democratic group. It's not easy. Some people in that room didn't look too happy at the limitations she placed on them. I don't think Maxine Waters was happy with just two Articles. I don’t think Jerry Nadler was happy about the role he played, which was basically delivering the investigation by the Intel Committee and the fine work done by Adam Schiff, but they all did what they were told, it looked good. Your thoughts about leadership. 

MARIA ECHAVESTE: No, absolutely and I want to underscore what Speaker Pelosi said. This is about our democracy and I am reminded the impeachment in 1998 did not threaten the republic, did not threaten our country, and it's quite in contrast to what this President has done and particularly the second Article which obstruction of Congress is basically, if left unchallenged, allows a president to act like a king, to say he is above the law and cannot be — there can be no oversight by Congress, and that is a direct blow to our institution. So as hard as it was and is for the country, I think these narrow Articles of impeachment ought to be something that Americans across party lines, and that's what I really hope our Republican colleagues will focus. This President has delivered on your agenda in so many ways, please put the interests of the country ahead of your ideological agenda. 

MATTHEWS: What do you think the Congress should have done with Clinton when the word got out — the country knew he had lied in the deposition, he had purged himself? What should have been the proper action of the U.S. government in both parties? 

ECHAVESTE: Well, you know, hindsight is 20/20. I think at one point there was talk of censure that, I think, really would have been appropriate. I'm not condoning what the President did in terms of lying under oath, but again, it did not threaten national security. It did not threaten our country. What President Trump has done — censure — frankly, is it will not stop a future president from saying I am above the law and this President obviously believes he is above the law. 

MATTHEWS: Well said. 

CONGRESSWOMAN ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Maria, I think there’s something else here.

MATTHEWS: I think you did a great job of answering that question because that was a smart answer. I rarely hear politically people who have been on both sides of the aisle — either side of the aisle give us a nonpartisan intelligent answer. Impeachment did not make sense, and here we are. Congresswoman, your thoughts on today. 

LOFGREN: Well, I just wanted to say in terms of the Clinton impeachment, the Constitution is about the abuse of the powers we give, the special powers we give to the president that injures the State. Now, President Clinton lied about a sexual affair, that was not a good thing, but it wasn't about his presidential powers. It was his husband powers, but it wasn't presidential powers that he misused to the detriment of the United States and that's why it was never a high crime or misdemeanor. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

ECHAVESTE: Correct.

LOFGREN: And it’s why it was really a very sad thing. In this case —

MATTHEWS: He shouldn't have hauled the cabinet into the Roosevelt Room to back him up, which he did and that — was unfortunately he made it an official thing. I’m sorry, Congresswoman. He went further than personal defense and he shouldn't have done it. He should have defended himself personally —

LOFGREN: I agree.

MATTHEWS: — not as President. Anyway, for their part, Republicans — I’m sorry, I don’t want to want to interrupt you there. Your thought. 

LOFGREN: I just wanted to say the issue is whether you are posing a threat to the United States and the constitutional order, and that's what we have here, a continuing threat, I might add —

ECHAVESTE: Yes.

LOFGREN: — as we were talking yesterday, Rudy Giuliani, the agent of the President was over meeting with legislators who were trained by the KGB continuing in this scheme.

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