Hillary Clinton: 'You've Got to Educate the American Public' About the Need for Impeachment

By Susan Jones | May 2, 2019 | 7:21am EDT
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Hillary Clinton's own husband was impeached in 1998, and that ended up benefitting him politically, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow told the former first lady Wednesday night. Maddow asked Clinton if she worries that Democrats likewise will get "walloped" in 2020 if they pursue investigations that lead to Trump's impeachment.

"I don't worry if it's done right, and by that I mean...you have to continue with your other agenda, and that's exactly what the House is doing," Clinton said. She said the House of Representatives should move on two tracks -- passing legislation while Democrat-led committees hold hearings "to educate the American public."

"You have to do it in a way that creates a narrative," Clinton said.

Clinton said Speaker Nancy Pelosi "completely" understands the two tracks:

Keep passing legislation. It may die in the Senate. It may never be considered, but you will be able to make the argument that you are moving toward election reform. You are going to take on health care. You're going to work to deliver what you promised in the 2018 midterms. So that has to continue.

At the same time, though, you've got to educate the American public, because the whole point behind Barr's four-page summary was to obfuscate, was to try to create in the minds of Americans that, hey, nothing here. Don't bother. We're moving on. And we know that's not the case now. And obviously, Bob Mueller has in his own way spoken out for the first time about that.

So there do need to be hearings, and the judiciary committee is not the only one that is investigating this administration, and they don't have to be impeachment hearings. That's not where they are. You have to see what it is you discover. What is the additional information? How do you fill in the gaps? What is in those redacted provisions that are perhaps very significant?

What other investigations are going on? There is a whole lot of important material to be explored. So you have to do it in a way that creates a narrative. What is it you're finding out. Where does it lead? But if it leads to the conclusion that this president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, that's what should motive the Congress to act. It may not lead there. And we don't know that.

We have a pretty good idea of what the potential charges could be in the articles of impeachment, but we don't yet have enough information to make that conclusion. But if we don't see the House proceeding in that way, I think that will be a failure to discharge their responsibilities. So it doesn't have to be the only thing. In fact, it cannot, should not be the only thing that the House is doing, but it does have to be part of the responsibility going forward.

Attorney General William Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he was under no obligation to release the Mueller report or even a brief explanation of its conclusions, but he did so because he promised he would.

Barr said he was not trying to "obfuscate" (Clinton's word) with his four-page memo that outlined Mueller's findings -- that there would be no further prosecutions of Trump or his family or associates.

"When the report came in on the 22nd and we saw it was going to take a great deal of time to get it out to the public I made the determination that we had to put out some information about the bottom line," Barr told the committee in his opening statement:

The body politic was in a high state of agitation. There was massive interest in learning what the bottom line results of Bob Mueller's investigation was particularly as to collusion.

Former government officials were confident--confidently predicting that the president and members of his family were going to be indicted. There were people suggesting that if it took any time to turn around the report and get it out it would mean that the president was in legal jeopardy. So, I didn't feel that it was in the public interest to allow this to go on for several weeks without saying anything. And so I decided to simply state what the bottom line conclusions were, which is what the department normally does--make a binary determination. Is there a crime or isn't there a crime?

We prepared the (March 24) letter for that purpose to state the bottom line conclusions. We used the language from the report to state those bottom line conclusions. I analogize it to announcing, after an extended trial, what the verdict of the trial is, pending release of the full transcript. That's what we were trying to do--notify the people as to the bottom line conclusion. We were not trying to summarize the 410 page report.

So, we released that. I--I offered Bob Mueller the opportunity to review that letter before it went out and he declined. On Thursday morning I received...a letter from Bob (Mueller), the letter that's just been put into the record. And I called Bob and said you know, what's the issue here? …[A]nd I asked him if he was suggesting that the March 24th letter was inaccurate, and he said no, but that the press reporting had been inaccurate. And that the press was reading too much into it.

And I asked him you know, specifically what his concern was. And he said, that his concern focused on his explanation of why he did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. And he wanted more put out on that issue. He wanted--he argued for putting out summaries of each volume--the executive summaries that had been written by his office. And, if not that then other material that focused on the issue of why he didn't reach the obstruction question. But he was very clear with me that he was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.

I told Bob that I was not interested in putting out summaries and I wasn't going to put out the report piece meal. I wanted to get the whole report out. And, I thought summaries by very definition regardless of who prepared them would be under inclusive and we'd have sort of a series of different debates and public discord over each tranche of information that went out and I wanted to get everything out at once and we should start working on that.

And so the following day I put out a letter explaining the process we were following and stressing that the March 24th letter was not a summary of the report but a statement of the principal conclusions and that people would be able to see Bob Mueller's entire thinking when the report was made public.

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