Former President Bill Clinton advised President Donald Trump on Thursday that as someone who has been through his own impeachment proceedings while in the Oval Office, he should just focusing on working for the American people.
“My message [to Trump] would be, you got hired to do a job. You don’t get the days back you blow off,” Clinton told CNN’s Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper. “Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.”
“And I would say, I have got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it,” he continued. “Meanwhile, I am going to work for the American people, that’s what I would do.”
Clinton’s remarks arose as news of a school shooting was happening at the time in Santa Clarita, California. As the former president talked to Tapper, the incident was still occurring and few details had been released by authorities, including who the shooter was, the motivation behind the spree, or how the firearm in question was obtained.
Clinton further suggested that despite the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Trump needs to work with Congress to enact a slew of strict gun control legislations, including an assault weapons ban, an ammunition clip limit, and universal background checks.
“I mean, I think what happens is that [Trump] did indicate that he might go along with this, and then the gun lobby got ahold of him and pulled him back,” Clinton said. “But at some point, you know, denial is no longer an option. And the Congress is basically in denial of the consequences of doing nothing, or at least the people who are opposed to it. And the easiest thing to do, and they don’t want to pass.”
Clinton is notably one of only two presidents in American history who have been impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He was impeached in December 1998 on charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice, stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him, but ultimately acquitted by the Senate on both charges.
More than a century prior, former President Andrew Johnson was also impeached over charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing his Secretary of War. He, too. was reprieved by the Senate.
House Democrats announced in September that they would be moving forward with an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower’s testimony accused Trump of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for using his position as vice president to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into his son’s business dealings.
The reports were not confirmed at the time of the announcement, and it was not until a day later that the White House released a transcript of Trump’s exchange with Zelensky. After the transcript was made public, many have argued that it fails to show the direct quid pro quo agreement initially alleged.
The full House voted on a resolution in October outlining how the House Intelligence Committee will proceed with the hearings and gather evidence before turning over the process to the House Judiciary Committee to craft the articles of impeachment. The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196, with only two Democrats defecting on the vote.