Clin­ton can for­get about hon­ey­moon if elected

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

Some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers seem to be try­ing to dele­git­imize a Hil­lary Clin­ton pres­i­dency be­fore it’s clear there will be one. They are threat­en­ing to block her Supreme Court nom­i­nees, in­ves­ti­gate her end­lessly, or even im­peach her.

Per­haps it’s no sur­prise in an elec­tion in which the GOP nom­i­nee, Don­ald Trump, has branded his op­po­nent “Crooked Hil­lary,” and shouts of “Lock her up!” are a sta­ple at his ral­lies. Few Repub­li­cans ap­pear ea­ger to sug­gest a new era of bi­par­ti­san deal-mak­ing with a can­di­date widely seen by GOP vot­ers as un­trust­wor­thy.

But the rhetoric is strik­ing be­cause newly elected pres­i­dents tra­di­tion­ally en­joy a hon­ey­moon pe­riod with Congress and the public.

For Clin­ton, the hon­ey­moon ap­pears to be over even be­fore it’s clear she will be elected.

“I would say yes, high crime or mis­de­meanor,” GOP Sen. Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin said this week in an in­ter­view with the Beloit Daily News, ar­gu­ing that with her han­dling of emails Clin­ton had crossed the con­sti­tu­tion­ally es­tab­lished thresh­old for im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings.

GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day on Fox News Chan­nel, sug­gested the Clin­ton email in­ves­ti­ga­tion might lead to an in­dict­ment. “At that point in time, un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives would en­gage in

an im­peach­ment trial,” McCaul said.

Those com­ments fol­low re­cent re­marks by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Richard Burr of North Carolina and John McCain of Ari­zona sug­gest­ing they will op­pose any and all Supreme Court nom­i­na­tions Clin­ton might make.

McCain walked his com­ment back, say­ing any nom­i­nee would be con­sid­ered. But Burr told GOP vol­un­teers, in pri­vate re­marks leaked to CNN, that he would aim to keep the ex­ist­ing va­cancy on the Supreme Court open through­out Clin­ton’s term.

Burr and McCain, like John­son, are locked in com­pet­i­tive re-elec­tion races as the Se­nate ma­jor­ity hangs in the bal­ance. For Burr in par­tic­u­lar, an en­er­gized GOP base may be key to his vic­tory.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama

took on Burr dur­ing an ap­pear­ance Wed­nes­day in Chapel Hill, N.C., crit­i­ciz­ing him and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans for bring­ing on grid­lock.

“You’ve got some Repub­li­cans in Congress al­ready sug­gest­ing they will im­peach Hil­lary. She hasn’t even been elected yet!” Obama said. “How does our democ­racy func­tion like that?”

In the House, Repub­li­cans al­ready spent more than two years and $7 mil­lion in­ves­ti­gat­ing Clin­ton’s role while sec­re­tary of state in the at­tack on the U.S. fa­cil­ity in Beng­hazi, Libya, in 2012.

Yet GOP law­mak­ers, who are likely to re­tain their ma­jor­ity in the House, show no sign that their in­ves­tiga­tive zeal is damp­en­ing. That’s es­pe­cially true in light of the FBI’s an­nounce­ment Fri­day that it is look­ing at a new

batch of emails in con­nec­tion with its closed in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Clin­ton’s han­dling of clas­si­fied ma­te­rial.

“The more we learn about the FBI’s ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Sec­re­tary Clin­ton’s unau­tho­rized use of a pri­vate email server, the more ques­tions we have,” House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Good­latte, R-Va., said in a state­ment. “I will con­tinue to press the FBI and Jus­tice Depart­ment for answers on these is­sues but so far they have been stonewalling Congress.”

GOP Rep. Jim Jor­dan of Ohio, a lead­ing con­ser­va­tive in the House, said in a state­ment that re­gard­less of who wins the elec­tion, “we need to con­tinue in­ves­ti­gat­ing Sec­re­tary Clin­ton’s email scan­dal, and al­leged im­pro­pri­ety be­tween the State Depart­ment and Clin­ton Foun­da­tion. We must also move for­ward with im­peach­ing

IRS Com­mis­sioner John Kosk­i­nen.”

Democrats have long ac­cused some Repub­li­cans of try­ing to dele­git­imize Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, in­clud­ing when Trump and others ques­tioned for years whether the pres­i­dent was re­ally born in this coun­try. Now the GOP’s pre-emp­tive at­tacks on Clin­ton are rais­ing Demo­cratic hack­les once again, al­though it could back­fire po­lit­i­cally for Repub­li­cans. The GOP-led House’s im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ing against Bill Clin­ton in 1998 was un­pop­u­lar with vot­ers.

The GOP’s top con­gres­sional lead­ers, Sen. Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis­con­sin, have no­tably passed up op­por­tu­ni­ties to dis­pute some of the more ex­treme com­ments from their rank-and-file.

McCon­nell’s spokesman,

Don Ste­wart, de­clined to say Wed­nes­day whether McCon­nell agreed with John­son’s sug­ges­tion that Clin­ton should face im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings. Ryan is to cam­paign with John­son in Wis­con­sin on Fri­day, but aides to the speaker did not re­spond when asked whether Ryan agreed with John­son that Clin­ton com­mit­ted high crimes and mis­de­meanors.

Ap­pear­ing Wed­nes­day on the Hugh He­witt ra­dio show, Ryan passed over a com­ment He­witt made sug­gest­ing im­peach­ment might be in the offing for Clin­ton, but said: “This is what life is like with the Clin­tons. There’s al­ways a scan­dal. And then there’s al­ways an in­ves­ti­ga­tion . ... Do we re­ally want to, know­ing this, have a per­son come into the White House au­to­mat­i­cally un­der sus­pi­cion, un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion?”

AP FILE

U.S. Sen. Ron John­son, R-Wis., shown here in Fe­bru­ary, has said Hil­lary Clin­ton should be im­peached if she’s elected pres­i­dent.

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