Tags: Jim Himes | Hillary | Impeachment | FBI | Contacts

Rep. Jim Himes: Hillary Would Have Faced Impeachment on FBI Contacts

("New Day"/Twitter)

By    |   Friday, 24 Feb 2017 11:39 AM

If a chief of staff for Hillary Clinton contacted the FBI about coming out against a news story, impeachment papers would be being drawn up at this time, Rep. Jim Himes said on Friday.

"First of all, they shouldn't contact the FBI," said the Connecticut Democrat on CNN's "New Day" program. "That is against the rules. I'm old enough to remember a couple months ago, when ex-President [Bill] Clinton sat on a runway with then-Attorney General [Loretta] Lynch and had a conversation. That blew up the Republican Party."

Clinton, he said, wasn't a sitting president when that happened. So, if the same story happened "in an alternative universe" and Hillary Clinton were president, there would be calls to remove her from office.

Trump on Friday accused the FBI, through Twitter, of failing to crack down on White House leaks, after reports the chief of staff  had asked a top FBI official to refute media reports that the president's campaign advisers had often been in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the 2016 election.

"New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota commented that CNN's reporting concerning Priebus' contact did not come from the FBI, but "from a White House official."

"The important thing here is that the White House severely damaged its credibility," said Himes. "The intelligence communities believes that there were contacts with Trump's people. Of course, the Russians themselves, the deputy foreign minister of Russia has said, of course, we were in contact with the Trump campaign.

"And yet the White House is saying no such contacts occurred, just as they said Michael Flynn didn't have a conversation with the Russian ambassador."

Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said such items are coming out at time when the White House "has at any number of times put out statements that turned out to be flatly false."

Leaks are an issue, said Himes, and there is a long conversation to be had about that.

"We can go back to Watergate, where Watergate and Bob Woodward got started, because there was a leak from an individual called Deep Throat," said Himes. "The main thing is the fact that the president's people went to the FBI and said we want you to do this. That is a profound violation of the way we do business."

In addition, other reports say the White House has urged the intelligence community to arrive at a conclusion about terrorism from the seven Middle Eastern countries affected by Trump's travel ban, Himes said.

"If people feel like they've seen this movie before, it's because they have," he said. "You just need to think back to the early days of the Bush administration where poor Colin Powell, an honorable man, sat in front of the United Nations and said there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

This happened, said Himes, "because a lot of good people in the intelligence community heard loud and clear what conclusion the White House wanted and it got sort of angled in that direction.

"This is a really scary thing with respect to what the white house is doing, telling the intelligence community what conclusion they want, regardless of the evidence."

The intelligence committees in both the House and Senate are undertaking investigations of all the leaks concerning Russia, including pursuing transcripts of Michael Flynn's conversations with a Russian ambassador.

"Now, of course, we need to expand that investigation to include the fact that this White House seems to be trying to shape the intelligence they get to support pre-existing conclusions," said Himes. "That's pretty scary and it cannot happen."

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If a chief of staff for Hillary Clinton contacted the FBI about coming out against a news story, impeachment papers would be being drawn up at this time, Rep. Jim Himes said on Friday.
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Friday, 24 Feb 2017 11:39 AM
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