CNN: Biden likened Clinton impeachment to 'partisan lynching' in 1998

CNN: Biden likened Clinton impeachment to 'partisan lynching' in 1998
© Getty Images

White House hopeful Joe BidenJoe BidenPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Demand for US workers reaches historic high Biden to award Medal of Honor to three soldiers who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan: report MORE has condemned President TrumpDonald TrumpJury in Jussie Smollett trial begins deliberations Pence says he'll 'evaluate' any requests from Jan. 6 panel Biden's drug overdose strategy pushes treatment for some, prison for others MORE for likening the impeachment inquiry to a "lynching," though he made a similar comparison when describing the impeachment investigation against former President Clinton.

"Even if the president should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," then-Sen. Biden (D-Del.) said in a 1998 interview with CNN, which was unearthed by CNN’s KFile.

The report comes as Democrats rage against Trump’s usage of similar terms to describe the House’s current impeachment investigation over his dealings with Ukraine.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Impeachment is not 'lynching,' it is part of our Constitution," Biden tweeted Tuesday. "Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It's despicable."

The Biden campaign declined to comment both to The Hill and CNN.

The former vice president took to Twitter not long after footage from the 1998 interview reemerged, writing, "This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that."

"Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily," he continued.

Democrats lashed out against Trump on Tuesday, saying his comparison of the House’s impeachment probe to lynching ignored the painful racial history associated with the term. 

Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassFor Democrats it should be about votes, not megaphones Proposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Bass calls 'Black pastors' comment during Arbery trial 'despicable' MORE (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, blasted Trump for “comparing a constitutional process to the PREVALENT and SYSTEMATIC brutal torture of people in THIS COUNTRY that looked like me” Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonMeadows suing Pelosi, Jan. 6 committee Pelosi says she'll 'never forgive' Trump, lackeys over Jan. 6 Jan. 6 committee moving forward with contempt charges against Meadows MORE (D-Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, also decried Trump as “racist and unfit to serve.” 

Some Republicans also rebuked Trump, with Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerRoger Stone to plead the Fifth in Jan. 6 investigation The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate takes up Biden's vaccine mandate Trump war with GOP seeps into midterms MORE (R-Ill.) calling on the president to retract his statement and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Debt limit maneuvers; Biden warns Putin Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection Hillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package MORE (R-Maine) saying that “the President never should have made that comparison.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The GOP was quick to defend the president, noting that other lawmakers in 1998 used similar language to refer to the House’s impeachment probe into Clinton, including Reps. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksHouse passes bills to pressure China amid Olympic boycott White House announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Democrats ask what went wrong on Election Day MORE (D-N.Y.), Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges Unrequited rage: The demand for mob justice in the Rittenhouse trial Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs MORE (D-N.Y.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.). 

An old New York Times report also resurfaced that showed former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), a nephew of former President Kennedy, speaking of "a political lynching."

A Washington Post report emerged later Tuesday saying at least five House Democrats likened the Clinton impeachment investigation to a lynching.