A lawyer for former president Donald Trump said the current impeachment drive is a partisan effort that could backfire on Democrats if they lose leverage, suggesting ex-secretary of state Hillary Clinton could also be impeached.
Responding to a question from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) during Friday’s impeachment hearing, Trump attorney Michael van der Veen argued that the Obama-era secretary could face similar impeachment proceedings sometime in the future.
“Is it not true that under this new precedent, a future House – facing partisan pressure to ‘lock her up’ – could impeach a former secretary of state, and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify her from any future office?” Rubio asked.
“If you see it their way, yes,” van der Veen said, referring to the Democratic impeachment managers. “If you do this the way they want it done, that could happen to the example there – a former secretary of state – but it could happen to a lot of people. And that’s not the way this is supposed to work.”
The lead impeachment manager in the House, Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), pushed back, however, insisting Rubio’s hypothetical had “no bearing on this case,” as Clinton “was not impeached in office for conduct while in office.”
At Friday’s hearing, the Trump lawyer also argued that the ex-president’s statements leading up to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill – which he is accused of “inciting” as the basis of the impeachment effort – were “virtually indistinguishable” from rhetoric used by American politicians for “hundreds of years.”
“Countless politicians have spoken of ‘fighting for our principles.’ Joe Biden’s campaign slogan was ‘Battle for the Soul of America.’ No human being seriously believes that the use of such metaphorical terminology is incitement to political violence,” van der Veen said.
He added that while Trump at no point engaged in “language of incitement,” many Democrats in Washington have themselves resorted to “profoundly reckless, dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric in recent years,” singling out Clinton, who he said “ridiculously declared the  election [was] stolen by Russia.”
The comments stoked heated debate online, sending Twitter’s blue checks into battle as Trump’s critics insisted Clinton is utterly irrelevant to the impeachment case.
And…it wouldn’t be a GOP-circus without them invoking Hillary Rodman Clinton. 🤦🏻♀️
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) February 12, 2021
Wait, they brought Hillary Clinton into this??
— Maya Harris (@mayaharris_) February 12, 2021
Some netizens argued that given the Democrats’ own rationale for impeachment, Clinton’s repeated claims of a stolen or illegitimate election over the years are germane to the case, suggesting the House managers are working under a double standard.
Hillary continued challenging the integrity of the elections through as late as the fall of 2020 and called on Biden not to concede if he lost.You are either dumb as a rock or are a brazen political hack acting as if you don’t get the point why Hillary’s words were shown today. https://t.co/l9tZ2bRoA7pic.twitter.com/srFjfWMjK5
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) February 12, 2021
In fact, the violence over insurrection Summer according to the Impeachment Managers could be construed as the results of 4 years of denying the legitimacy of the 2016 election by Democrats, based on their arguments.
— Rob McCray (@clanmacrae9) February 12, 2021
Ahead of the latest hearing, Clinton herself waded into the impeachment drama on Thursday night, tweeting that should Senate Republicans fail to convict Trump, “it won’t be because the facts were with him or his lawyers mounted a competent defense. It will be because the jury includes his co-conspirators.”
If Senate Republicans fail to convict Donald Trump, it won’t be because the facts were with him or his lawyers mounted a competent defense. It will be because the jury includes his co-conspirators.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 10, 2021
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