Former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker made an unnerving claim during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday evening.
While discussing Democrats’ impeachment efforts with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Whitaker criticized Democrats for collecting “secret testimony and “selective leaking to preferred outlets.” He warned that a possible future Republican majority in the House could seek “payback,” calling Democrats’ probe illegitimate.
He then made a stunning claim based on his experience as a former prosecutor: “Abuse of power is not a crime.”
“I’m a former prosecutor and what I know is this is a perfect time for preliminary hearings, where you would say ‘Show us your evidence. What evidence of a crime do you have?’ Abuse of power is not a crime. Let’s fundamentally boil it down, the Constitution is very clear that there has to be some pretty egregious behavior and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about.”
Whitaker thinks abuse of power is "not a crime." pic.twitter.com/OpqRnFs6hd
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 23, 2019
The comment comes on the heels of devastating testimony from U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor who told House investigators on Tuesday about the President’s strategic efforts to get the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rival.
The remark was particularly egregious given past impeachment precedent. Both former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon’s articles of impeachment included abuse of power as pillars of Congress’ cases against them.