Politics

Issa: Cool It With the Impeachment Talk

As Republicans broach impeachment against Clinton, Issa says, ‘Back off’

California Rep. Darrell Issa said Republicans need to ‘calm down’ with talk of impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, has been one of the Obama administration’s biggest antagonists, but he’s telling Republicans to cool their jets on impeaching Hillary Clinton.

Issa, the onetime chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made the remarks on San Diego radio host Brett Winterble’s talk show.

“OK, I’m gonna say, be the adult in the room and say, ‘Calm down, back off, it’s not going to happen,’” Issa said.

Several Republicans have invoked the I-word when talking about a possible Clinton presidency. Texas Rep. Michael McCaultold Fox News on Wednesday that the investigation into Clinton’s email server or the WikiLeaks release of emails could provide a “smoking gun.”

“[If] the investigation goes forward and it looks like an indictment is pending, at that point in time under the Constitution, the House of Representatives would engage in an impeachment trial. It would go to the Senate and impeachment proceedings and removal would take place,” McCaul said.

But others like Issa are trying to squelch such talk, unless more evidence emerges that ties the Democratic presidential nominee to a crime.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, earlier this week, called such talk “premature,” CNN reported.

“Well, I think that’s premature myself, to be talking about that because of course, she hasn’t been elected or sworn into office,” Cornyn told a Texas radio station. “And unless there is some additional evidence that the FBI director and the Justice Department would take to a grand jury, then she is not likely to be convicted of a crime.”

 

Issa said the topic should be taken seriously.

“The fact is we have impeached and removed from office nine federal judges in our history, no members of the executive branch, not a president, not a vice president, not a cabinet officer, so floating that word is usually a fairly reckless thing,” he said.

Issa is in a tough re-election race against retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate and has moderated his tone during the campaign.

However, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee & Governmental Affairs Committee, who is also facing a tough re-election battle, called Clinton’s actions impeachable offenses.

"She purposefully circumvented [the law], this was willful concealment and destruction," Johnson told a Wisconsin newspaper on Monday.

Campaigning in North Carolina on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said such talk indicates that congressional Republicans want to turn Washington’s dysfunction up a notch.

“They just resort constantly to gridlock and obstruction and threats to shut down the government and wreck the economy if they don’t get their way,” he said. “That’s not how democracy works.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on “responsible Republicans’ to “take impeachment off the table.”

The California Democrat said the GOP tried to put a check on Bill Clinton’s White House through the threat of impeachment in the 1990s.

“Twenty years later, congressional Republicans are taking the same approach,” she said in a statement. “Citing the need to be a ‘check’ on the Clinton White House, congressional Republicans are again plotting to obstruct and hold investigations for years. This time, Republicans aren’t even hiding that they have impeachment in mind.”

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