02:11 - Source: CNN
Former Whitewater prosecutor: Start impeachment proceedings
CNN —  

A prosecutor who helped investigate President Bill Clinton said Friday that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, arguing that the Constitution empowers Congress to address the type of evidence found in the Mueller report.

Former Whitewater prosecutor Stephen Binhak said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report unearthed the same type of evidence against Trump as the Saturday Night Massacre – when President Richard Nixon asked Justice Department leadership to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating him, and then fired them when they refused – revealed about Nixon. Binhak’s comments came Friday in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“We learned from Nixon that the Saturday Night Massacre with the firing of Archibald Cox – that is, an interference with the investigation into Nixon – was enough to spur an impeachment inquiry on the House side, and I think the same evidence exists here,” Binhak told Burnett.

Binhak referenced the report’s finding that Trump asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, but McGahn refused and threatened to resign instead of participating in another possible “Saturday Night Massacre.”

“When the President acts in that way, there’s a political solution,” Binhak said, adding that the Constitution considers how “Congress should have vigorous oversight of the executive branch – in this case, that’s opening up hearings and seeing what happened, and seeing if impeachment, articles of impeachment should be returned.”

Binhak added that while Trump’s decisions to fire former FBI director James Comey and pressure former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from the special counsel’s investigation and fire Mueller weren’t criminal, they stood out to him as potentially meriting investigation.

“I don’t think that’s a crime, a federal criminal crime under the code,” he said. “I do think it is impeachable conduct, and that’s where Congress is supposed to step in. That’s why we have separation of powers.”

When Burnett asked whether Trump’s polling favorability could benefit from impeachment proceedings – as Clinton’s did – Binhak replied: “It might.”

“If the politics are right, the people will follow on and remove the President, or agree with history,” he added.

“Now, if ultimately, the politics aren’t there to return articles of impeachment or remove the President, that’s OK,” he said later. “But I believe that the Congress abdicates its duty if it doesn’t investigate.”