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Former Clinton pollster Mark Penn stated over the weekend that if President Donald Trump were to employ the same investigative tactics against Democrats like Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Adam Schiff of California that they are using against him, impeachment would be in order.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty, and Levin” on Sunday, Penn, who worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, contended that Democrats in Congress are undermining the Constitution by continuing to investigate Trump.
He explained to Levin that “investigations of the president, of the campaign, of the administration, of the president’s family, done with methods that were really meant to investigate people, not crimes, and things that seem to me to be way over the bounds of the Constitution.”
“No one can be an effective president, or as effective as they could be, if they are under constant threats and investigations,” Penn added.
The longtime Democratic political adviser recalled that after the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton in 1998, he had hoped the country would never go through something like it again.
He observed what the Democrats are doing now is “even worse” than what happened then.
Penn stated that Democratic leaders are no longer engaged in “legitimate legislative inquiry” through the many subpoenas and demands for personal financial and business records.
“Now saying: ‘Hey let’s get some of these tax returns — oh, let’s get the tax returns of their children, their family. Let’s go back in history,’ that’s government-financed opposition research, that’s not legitimate legislative inquiry,” the former White House aide said.
Penn specifically called out House Judiciary Chairman Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff for their conduct, particularly given the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller that neither Trump nor his campaign colluded with Russia.
He said both men have made public statements that “indict the purpose” of their probes.
“If the courts were willing to use some statement that Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, they have hundreds and hundreds of statements that these congressmen — and particularly Nadler and Schiff — have made that really indict the purpose of these investigations as nothing more but going after people who are associated with Trump just because they are working for the president,” Penn said.
He further argued that if Trump used the instruments of government to investigate his rivals in the way they are investigating him, it would be legitimate grounds for impeachment.
“And, going after Trump and his entire family in ways that are unprecedented — in ways that we would normally have impeached people for,” Penn said.
“If the president of the United States did the reverse, and ordered up all the tax returns of everybody in Congress, and started to look into all the business affairs of those folks in Congress, how long would he be president? He’d be impeached, right then and there.”
Politico reported at the end of last month Nadler said that there “certainly is” justification to impeach Trump, but “impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it.”
He added that he sees it as his role to educate the public through hearings and investigations, so the American public will come to believe Trump should be impeached, like they did former President Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings in the 1970s.
In April, all the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee submitted a letter calling for Schiff to step down as chairman after he continued to insist, following the initial release of the Mueller report’s findings, that Trump colluded with Russians.
The GOP members recounted in their letter that throughout the course of the Mueller investigation, Schiff had repeatedly made public statements which “implied knowledge of classified facts supporting the collusion allegations.”
Following the release of Mueller’s findings, Schiff insisted, “In fact every act that I pointed to as evidence of collusion has now been borne out by the report.”
The report specifically says “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Schiff, like Nadler, has also likened Trump’s actions to Nixon.
“Did the President obstruct justice? Yes. Was it worse than Watergate? Yes,” he said in late April.
In an Op-Ed for Fox News last month, Penn dismissed comparisons of Trump to Nixon regarding the obstruction of justice, highlighting there was no crime he was trying to cover-up. Rather, Trump’s actions were consistent with a man who was innocent fearing he was not being treated fairly by his investigators.
“Trump did not, as Nixon did, pay hush money to witnesses,” Penn wrote. “He did not, as Hillary Clinton did, destroy emails under subpoena.”
“America cannot operate this way,” Penn added. “Hounding presidents with investigations cannot become a substitute for elections. I did not believe it in 1998 when President Bill Clinton was impeached and I don’t believe it now.”