Sessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial

Sessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial
© Camille Fine

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsKey GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum Homeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report MORE argued in 1999 as an Alabama senator that then-President Clinton could be removed from office for obstructing justice amid an investigation into his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The Justice Department head's argument during the Clinton impeachment trial more than two decades ago contradicts the claim of President Trump's personal lawyer that the president cannot legally obstruct justice

“The chief law officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to defend the law, and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen,” Sessions said during Clinton’s trial in the Senate, according to his remarks archived in the congressional record.

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“Under our Constitution, equal justice requires that he forfeit his office,” the Alabama senator continued.

Politico first reported Sessions's impassioned case on Monday.

The "president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case," Trump attorney John Dowd told Axios.

Dowd also claimed that he mistakenly crafted a tweet sent from the president's twitter account over the weekend that appeared to suggest the president knew in January that Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, had lied to the FBI as well as Vice President Pence.

Last week, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with a top Kremlin official.

Politico also noted that 17 current senators also supported the obstruction of justice charge against Clinton, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (R-Iowa) as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrCongress should build upon the ABLE Act, giving more Americans with disabilities access to financial tools Christine Todd Whitman: Trump should step down over Putin press conference GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki MORE (R-N.C.), who served in the House at that time.