Hillary Clinton cautions against rushing to impeach Trump in Dartmouth visit

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    "We have to defend this, my friends," Hillary Clinton says on the topic of impeachment, alongside Jake Sullivan, left, and Daniel Benjamin, in the Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. "Right now is the moment when our institutions will be tested," she said. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Joseph Ressler

  • Students and other residents wait in line for the “In Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Daniel Benjamin and Jake Sullivan” event at Dartmouth College's Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Joseph Ressler

  • Hillary Clinton shakes hands with the audience after speaking for one of the lectures sponsored by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Joseph Ressler

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/8/2019 9:46:18 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 7:08:19 AM

HANOVER — Hillary Clinton warned House Democrats on Wednesday against rushing to impeach President Donald Trump and instead called for a slow and deliberate congressional investigation into his efforts to interfere with the work of special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I don’t want us to look like we’re jumping into it. I want there to be a process that can be defended, that can serve as a basis for court challenges,” the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said during a speaking engagement at Dartmouth College.

Any move to investigate the president for obstruction of justice to begin impeachment proceedings would spark legal battles and intense public scrutiny, Clinton said, while stressing the importance of a thorough, nonpartisan approach.

“We have to defend this, my friends,” she told about 850 people gathered inside the Spaulding Auditorium. “We have to defend the subpoenas. We have to defend the witness testimony. We have to be able to make the case, and if we don’t make the strongest possible case, we are never going to know whether it’s the rule of law or the rule of Trump.”

Clinton, who was in Hanover to headline Dartmouth’s annual Obenshain Family Great Issues Lecture, said the Mueller report contained two “inescapable conclusions”: that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the 2016 election and that “Donald Trump obstructed justice.”

But it’s up to Democrats, who control the House, to take that information and act responsibly, she said. Clinton, who participated as a young aide in Congress’ investigation of the Watergate scandal, said leaders should look to that process and not her husband’s impeachment in the late 1990s for guidance.

“What we did in that process was a pretty good model,” she said. “There was no prejudgement but there was enough evidence that something was amiss in the operation of the presidency that it was the constitutional responsibility of the House to conduct an investigation.”

Clinton also called on the Trump administration to address Russia’s role in the 2016 election, saying it shouldn’t ignore “a very real, continuing threat to our democracy.”

“It is a fact. It is not a hoax. It is not a Democratic dream. It is a fact that the Russians effected our election,” she said.

The former first lady and U.S. Senator spoke on a wide range of topics — from the Iran nuclear deal to women’s issues — for just over an hour on Wednesday night with two former colleagues who now teach at Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.

The discussion kicked off with talk of the Iranian nuclear agreement, which sought to prevent the Mideast nation’s development of nuclear material. The Trump administration abandoned the deal last year and instead increased sanctions on Iran.

“Knowing that the Iranians were pursuing a nuclear weapon to being able to verify that they were not, which is what we were able to do under the Iran nuclear agreement, gave me a huge sense of relief,” Clinton said.

The deal wasn’t perfect, she said, but reports issued afterward showed the Iranians were keeping their end of the agreement.

“But I worry greatly that No. 1, there is some desire on the part of this administration to provoke something. I don’t think we can unfortunately rule that out,” she said. “And there is always, always the threat of miscalculation.”

Clinton also addressed the struggles that women in the developing world and America continue to face, telling young women to “follow your dreams.”

It’s that message that resonated with Chelsea resident Carrie Caouette-Delallo, who supported Clinton in the 2016 primary.

“I loved how direct and honest she was and how real she was about what our situation is right now,” Caouette-Delallo said after the event.

Fellow Chelsea resident Kate Willard was struck by Clinton’s warnings about the use of social media and “how critical it is that we keep other countries like Russia from infiltrating those systems.”

“It’s pretty serious and scary,” Willard said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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