The recent effort by the GOP to impeach US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could make it easier to impeach President Donald Trump, says a former Watergate lawyer.
In an op-ed for NBC released Sunday, Michael Conway argued that Rosenstein’s impeachment would pave the way for impeachment of the US commander in chief.
The top Department of Justice (DOJ) official is tasked with overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.
“The resolution lowers the bar in defining what are ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ — the ambiguous standard for an impeachable offense,” wrote Conway, who acted as counsel to the US House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry of former President Richard Nixon in 1974. “Second, it reduces the threshold necessary for the House to commence impeachment proceedings in the first place.”
His comments follow a failed attempt at the US House of Representatives to impeach the deputy attorney general last month.
Republican Representatives Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein but quickly walked back the resolution, as it did not gain enough support in the House.
Three of the five articles in the resolution were related to allegations that he withheld FBI documents from ongoing investigations into Mueller’s probe.
Before Nixon (pictured below) stepped down, similar arguments against the president were rejected by Republicans at the time, he continued.
“Meadows and company argue that the refusal of the executive branch to produce every document subpoenaed by Congress is grounds for impeachment,” Conway wrote. “This is a theory that by Republican members of Congress rejected when Richard Nixon refused to turn White House tapes and documents over to the Judiciary Committee in 1974.”
Conway speculated that there is “no chance” Rosenstein would be impeached but “the existence of this new impeachment solution could make future impeachment proceedings easier to start — and maybe even easier to prove.”
Ever since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, the US intelligence community has overwhelmingly maintained that Moscow sought to meddle in the 2016 election.
Russia has denied meddling in the election as well as being in possession of any damaging information on the US president.