Former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis fired off a series of tweets Friday challenging a claim by House Speaker Paul Ryan that Republicans wouldn’t try to impeach a Democratic president accused of the same actions as President Trump.
Inglis, who served on the House judiciary committee that impeached former President Bill Clinton, wrote to Ryan: “You know that you would be inquiring into impeachment if this were a D.”
— Bob Inglis (@bobinglis) June 9, 2017
Inglis told Yahoo News on Friday that he hoped that Ryan and his party would put country over party and take the investigation seriously.
“We just need to be honest and … call it like it is,” Inglis said, describing the allegations against Trump far more serious than those against Nixon or Clinton. “It’s beyond a break-in at the Watergate. It’s beyond sex with a White House intern. It is the substance matter is really serious. … This investigation deals with the interference of an American election by a hostile foreign power.”
Inglis’ tweets followed former FBI chief James Comey’s testimony Thursday that included a number of explosive allegations, including that Trump fired him because of his agency’s probe into whether any Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
During a press conference, Ryan said after the testimony that Republicans wouldn’t point to impeachment if Comey had been testifying about a Democratic president. Meanwhile, some Democrats have already called for Trump’s impeachment, claiming that Trump obstructed justice.
Ryan, who called Trump’s alleged request for Comey’s loyalty “obviously” inappropriate Wednesday, had told reporters Thursday, “No. I don’t think we would [pursue impeachment], actually. I don’t think that’s at all the case.”
Trump’s lawyer denied that Trump sought to influence any FBI probe and claimed that the president never demanded Comey’s loyalty.
But Clinton was sent to trial in the Senate in 1998 for “matters less serious than the ones before us now,” Inglis tweeted.
Inglis, who had voted in favor of all four articles of impeachment against Clinton, which included allegations of perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power, nevertheless said on Twitter that Ryan should focus on the Russia probe rather than “draft articles of impeachment.”
It’s not yet clear whether Trump obstructed justice and should be impeached, Inglis said.
“[The investigation] should sound like very serious lawmakers who are looking into very serious allegations at the heart of our republic. That’s not what I’m hearing yet [from my party],” Inglis told Yahoo News. Inglis now runs RepublicEN.org, a group that pushes conservative policy solutions to climate change.
Inglis concluded his tweets with a final message to Ryan and the rest of his party: “Put the country first.”
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