(CNSNews.com) – National Security Advisor John Bolton said Thursday Democrats mulling impeachment will “have to think long and hard” before proceeding, adding that he doubted the men who framed the U.S. Constitution “intended impeachment to be a political process.”
Asked during a visit to Britain about the push to impeach President Trump, Bolton told Sky News, “it’s obviously something the Democrats have to think long and hard about before they go down this route.”
“I don’t think the framers of the Constitution ever intended impeachment to be a political process,” he added. “I think they had something very different in mind.”
Bolton recalled the Republican effort to remove President Bill Clinton from office on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998-9.
“It’s something that, having watched Republicans try it against President Clinton during his administration and see it backfire, something I think politicians should reflect on.”
Asked whether he was preparing for the eventuality of impeachment, Bolton replied that he was not, since “it’s not in my area of responsibility.”
“I think the president’s made his position on this very clear, and the Justice Department and Attorney General [Bill] Barr have made their position on it clear.”
“We’ll see what happens in Congress,” he said, adding, “It’s the political season – the 2020 election is on us – so fasten your seatbelt.”
The House of Representatives impeached Clinton in December 1998, by a 228-206 vote on the grounds of perjury to a grand jury, and by a 221-212 vote on grounds of obstruction of justice.
Sixty-seven votes in the U.S. Senate were needed to convict and remove Clinton from office, but the Senate trial held the following month ended with acquittal on both charges.
Democrats picked up three seats in the Senate in 2000, and when Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party the following year to become an independent caucusing with the Democrats, the GOP lost control of the chamber.
Some Trump critics who oppose impeachment argue that the likelihood of the GOP-controlled Senate voting to remove him from the White House is so remote the effort is pointless and will likely be damaging to the Democratic Party.
“There are those who say that you should not impeach if the Senate won’t convict,” Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), a leading advocate for impeachment, told an event outside the Capitol this month.
“I say, impeachment is the province of the House of Representatives. I say that we have a duty, a responsibility and an obligation under the Constitution of the United States of America to do our duty. We must impeach – let the Senate do what they may, we have to do what we must.”
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