Bill Clinton advises Trump to ignore impeachment: 'You got hired to do a job'

Former President Clinton (D) on Thursday advised President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE to leave fighting impeachment to his staff and focus on his agenda.

"My message would be, look, you got hired to do a job," Clinton said during a phone interview with CNN. "You don't get the days back you blow off. Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.

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"And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry, and they should just have at it,'" he continued. "Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people. That's what I would do."

Clinton is in a rare position to offer insight on how Trump might handle the prospect of impeachment, given the GOP-controlled House impeached the former Democratic president in 1998.

The House held its first public hearings on Wednesday in its impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival.

While Clinton managed to approve legislation and work through an agenda throughout his impeachment process, Trump has said multiple times he will not work with Congress while the Democratic-controlled lower chamber investigates him. That posture has thrown into jeopardy the president's efforts to pass a trade deal and approve legislation to lower drug pricing, among other items.

Clinton phoned in to CNN on Thursday to discuss a shooting at a southern California high school that left two dead and multiple people injured. The incident is the latest in a string of school shootings that have unfolded with increasing regularity in recent years.

The former president signed off on an assault weapons ban in 1994 that has since expired, and he was critical of Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration for failing to address the surge in mass shootings.

"I mean, I think what happened was — [Trump] did indicate a couple times he might go along with this and then obviously the gun lobby got ahold of him and pulled him back," Clinton said. "But at some point, you know, denial is no longer an option. And Congress is basically in denial of the consequences of doing nothing. Or at least the people who are opposed to it."

The Trump administration had been in talks with lawmakers earlier this year in the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. While Trump expressed openness to stronger background checks, talks eventually fell by the wayside.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFive things to watch in Russia probe review Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE on Wednesday announced an initiative focused on more rigorously prosecuting gun crimes. Asked about the potential for congressional action on gun violence, Barr told reporters that negotiations had been sidelined because of impeachment.

“That’s just an excuse," Clinton said Thursday.

He advocated for reinstating an assault weapons ban, or at least a clean background check bill that would take advantage of modern technology. Clinton argued that Democrats are unlikely to face the electoral consequences they did in the 1990s given the growing enthusiasm around the issue.

“If you’re just worried about the naked politics, it’s at least a wash," he said. "And people should instead do what’s right for the children.”