WASHINGTON — Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Jim Himes said it is too soon to talk impeachment of President Donald Trump as two more of his associates face jail time for illegal activities.
In separate interviews by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the two Connecticut Democrats were asked if impeachment could be on the horizon for President Trump should the midterm election results shift power in the House from Republicans to Democrats.
While not mincing words about their disdain for Trump, both Blumenthal and Himes suggested that impeachment proceedings shouldn’t be under consideration until after Special Counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“If Democrats take the majority is it appropriate to immediately begin impeachment?” Blitzer asked Himes.
“No, Wolf, I do not,” Himes answered. “And, I feel very strongly about this — no forward motion should be made on impeachment until Special Counsel Mueller has had a chance to finish his work and to tell us what the truth is,” later adding that “Congress shouldn’t start throwing around the concept of impeachment until we have all the facts.”
Blitzer raised the question of impeachment after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, a New Britain native, was found guilty this week on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a range of charges, testified that Trump directed him to arrange payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election to silence two women who said they had had affairs with Trump.
Blitzer asked Blumenthal if what Cohen says suggests Trump has committed an impeachable offense. The senator did not offer a direct answer but said: “what the remedy is going to be will depend on what more is found as a result of this continuing investigation by this special counsel and here is what I believe is most important, Wolf, on this day the Congress of the United States has to protect the special counsel.”
President Trump was asked about the possibility of his being impeached during a “Fox and Friends” interview. He dismissed the chances saying: “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job.”
Trump went on to say that if he were to be impeached the stock market would plunge.
“I think everybody would be very poor. Because without this thinking,” he said, pointing a finger at his head, “you would see, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”
Both Himes and Blumenthal emphasized the need for Mueller to complete his investigation without interference from President Trump. They also cautioned Trump against granting Manafort a pardon.
“If the president were to pardon convicted or admitted felons, all of whom are his guys [then] what’s the difference between the Oval Office and the mafia?” Himes said. “How are Americans to think differently about the president then they would about some sort of kleptocratic mafia boss or Vladimir Putin?”
Blumenthal said granting Manafort a pardon could also set up the president for potential charges of obstruction of justice because he would be “misusing that power to protect himself as a target of that investigation.” Blumenthal also noted that if Trump granted Manafort a pardon: “He would be screaming to the world, ‘I am guilty!’ And he would so undermine the credibility of his office that it would be a disaster for the nation.”