Former NYT correspondent rips Democrats' 'selective use' of constitutional violations

Former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges criticized Democrats on Thursday over their handling of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE’s impeachment.

Hedges took issue with what he described as Democrats' “selective use” of constitutional violations that he argued were normalized under the George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe 'Palmetto Promise': South Carolina will decide the race Obama remembers Kobe Bryant in speech to NBA All-Stars: 'Nothing is more heartbreaking' Warren highlights work with Obama, Harry Reid in new Nevada ad MORE administrations.

He pointed to Bush declaring war on Iraq without congressional approval and Obama's reinterpretation of the Authorization for Use of Military Force that was first passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

“The constitutional violations that they’ve charged Trump with in comparison are probably the most trivial because of course Trump has also continued those violations,” Hedges, who is now an author, said.

“There’s a long litany of violations that have empowered the imperial presidency that the Democrats don’t want to touch and that really worries me,” he added.

Hedges went on to dismiss Trump’s trial in the Senate as a “political farce,” arguing that it “shows utter contempt for the rule of law.”

Hedges’s latest book, “America: The Farewell Tour,” describes what he characterizes as the devastating effects of capitalism throughout the United States. Prior to becoming an author, he served as a foreign correspondent at The New York Times for 15 years.

His comments come as Democrats and Republicans battle over impeachment.

House Democrats on Wednesday kicked off opening arguments in Trump’s Senate trial, where they hope to make their case to have the president removed from office.

Their case is centered on allegations that originated from a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to launch a pair of investigations that would have benefited him in the 2020 election.

One investigation would have targeted former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats redefine center as theirs collapses Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE, a 2020 presidential contender whose son served on the board of a Ukrainian energy while Biden was still serving vice president. Another would have been aimed at examining a debunked conspiracy theory over election interference in the 2016 election.

Both allegations led to the Democrat-led House to impeach Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

However, Republican senators not appear to be convinced of the evidence presented so far.

Roughly six hours into Wednesday’s opening arguments, Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial GOP senators defend Sondland, Vindman ousters: They weren't 'loyal' What the impeachment vote looked like from inside the chamber MORE (R-Wyo.) said he “didn’t hear anything new at all,” and reiterated claims that Democrats were just trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

"It still seems to me as if this was an effort by the Democrats, in a very partisan way, to bring a case against President Trump because they weren't happy with the 2016 election and are concerned that they're going to have real problems in the 2020 election,” Barrasso said.

—Tess Bonn