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 SessionsMcCabe defends himself against firing in Washington Post op-ed Attorney: Roy Moore supporters offered K, Bannon meeting to drop accuser as client Al Franken: Sessions firing McCabe ‘is hypocrisy at its worst’ 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.


“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 McConnellYou just can't keep good health policy down Trump threatens to veto omnibus over lack of wall funding, DACA fix Democrats desperate for a win hail spending bill MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley on Trump calling Putin: 'I wouldn't have a conversation with a criminal' Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg GOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee MORE (R-Iowa) as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel votes to release Russia report | House lawmakers demand Zuckerberg testify | Senators unveil updated election cyber bill Senators introduced revised version of election cyber bill Overnight Cybersecurity: Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica | Senators grill DHS chief on election security | Omnibus to include election cyber funds | Bill would create 'bug bounty' for State MORE (R-N.C.), who served in the House at that time.