Huh. Schumer's handling of Clinton's impeachment was very different

Chuck Schumer (as well as a couple of moderate Republicans, to be fair) was quite put off by Mitch McConnell’s announcement that he would “coordinate” with the White House on the impeachment trial. That’s assuming, of course, that Nancy Pelosi ever gets off her butt and sends the case over to the Senate. But Senator Schumer apparently is suffering from some sort of “senior moment” here and losing his memory. Back in the nineties, when Bill Clinton was being impeached, he said the same thing that Cocaine Mitch is saying now, almost word for word. (Daily Caller)


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer chastised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week after McConnell said he’d coordinate with the White House over an impeachment trial in the senate, but Schumer sang a different tune during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment two decades ago.

Schumer also rejected witnesses, and urged Congress to move on from impeachment in a January 1999 clip that Fox & Friends showed Tuesday morning.

“Any fair process would be consulting the White House, because it’s the president who’s the defendant, and due process would guarantee him fairness,” Schumer said in 1999.

You really need to watch this brief clip of Schumer making his case to get the full flavor of this. Warning: You might become confused and think that the body snatchers have arrived and replaced Schumer’s brain with McConnell’s.

So back in the day, Chuck Schumer was arguing:

  • There was no need to call witnesses
  • The Senate Majority should coordinate with the President because he deserved due process
  • The American people wanted the Senate to “move on” and get back to doing their jobs

Are we watching cable news or a 2019 reboot of the film Freaky Friday?

This should all have been predictable, of course. That’s because, as we’ve long known, impeachment isn’t a law enforcement process, but rather a political one. How you approach it depends on which team you’re rooting for. And doing a complete about-face on your sacred principles is totally cool.


There is one significant difference between these two impeachments, however. While I personally thought the entire idea of impeaching Clinton was rather silly back when it was unfolding, the GOP had at least made the case that Clinton had actually broken the law. (Lying under oath in that case. He was not impeached for having an affair with an intern.) Of course, there’s at least a philosophical difference between lying about cheating on your wife and lying about some type of national security interest or other actual crimes. But the point is, a “crime” had taken place.

Fast forward to 2019 and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a crime in the case of Trump. Only actions and statements that his critics disagree with and patterns of behavior not seen from previous presidents. But as the Democrats have pointed out repeatedly (along with nearly every anchor on CNN), there doesn’t have to be a crime for impeachment to take place. That sort of flies in the face of Madison and the other founders who eventually concluded that maladministration wasn’t a sufficient trigger for impeachment.

But as I already said, none of this is particularly pertinent at the moment. The House can impeach anyone they wish for pretty much anything if they muster enough votes. And the Senate can convict or acquit as they choose. Nothing that these leaders say now, even if it’s a complete reversal of what they supposedly believed when the shoe was on the other foot, is going to change how this plays out at this point.


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Jazz Shaw 5:01 PM on December 04, 2023