Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) did not just vote to impeach President Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998; he was one of the House Managers who unsuccessfully prosecuted the case before the United States Senate.
Now in his 12th term in the House, Chabot does not believe President Donald Trump should be impeached. His reasoning: Trump’s lies don’t matter because they were not under oath.
In an interview with The Atlantic this week, Chabot said he stands by his efforts to impeach Clinton. “I do stand by it,” he sad. “I think he did commit an impeachable offense — that’s why I voted that way.”
But despite the 10 instances of possible obstruction involving Trump, documented in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, Chabot said that the sees no reason to impeach the current president because Trump did not swear to tell the truth and because Mueller did not expressly tell Congress to impeach.
“[T]there are a lot of differences,” he argued. “President Clinton put his hand on the Bible, swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And then he lied. He perjured himself.”
“And we had the Starr report, which was somewhat similar to the Mueller report, and there were 11 grounds on which he recommended that we move forward on impeachment,” he continued. “Trump didn’t perjure himself. He was never under oath. And also Mueller did not recommend that there was an impeachable offense. So both things.”
Despite repeated requests by Mueller for an interview with the president and Trump’s public statements that he would be happy to do so under oath, Trump refused to sit down with the special counsel in person, responding instead to a series of written questions.
In his report, Mueller described Trump’s answers as “inadequate.”
While Trump may not have lied under oath, the latest Washington Post count shows he has lied at an unprecedented clip: 10,796 false claims in the first 869 days of his presidency.
Asked point blank this week whether he would acknowledge “that perhaps the president has not been honest at all times,” Chabot replied, “I’m not prepared to go there.”