A former CIA staffer who delivered daily intelligence briefings to former attorney general John Ashcroft — and then-FBI chief Robert Mueller — explained that House Democrats don’t need Senate Republicans to impeach President Donald Trump.
David Priess, who served during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, appeared Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss his new book, “How to Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, Or Unfit Chief Executives.”
“Let’s be clear — an impeachment vote can still happen,” Priess said. “The House can still impeach and not get a conviction.”
“Since the Bill Clinton case that has been seen as a political failure, if you impeach and don’t convict it seems like the president wins,” Priess added. “That’s not the way the founders meant it. Impeachment was meant itself to be a rebuke, a slap across the face.”
He said the midterm elections gave Democrats the power to stop Trump, even if they were unable to remove him from office.
“You can go well short of impeachment,” Priess said. “One way is simply undermining the president legislatively and in other ways. With the Democrats controlling the House, this may happen. It happened many times in history where presidents were effectively removed in place, emasculated, because some of their powers were taken away from them.”
The former intelligence official said that had already happened inside the Trump White House.
“In some cases it happens in ways we’ve seen in the reporting lately,” Priess said, “where actual underlings undermine the president, through ‘Anonymous’ in the New York Times writing about redirecting the president, or as Bob Woodward wrote about in “Fear,” where people (were) taking paper off the president’s desk there are ways of reining in a president that fall short of that constitutional method.”