Right-wing conservative pundit Andy McCarthy, who was the national security advisor to Sen. Ted Cruz during his presidential campaign, is insisting that Congress preemptively impeach the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in an effort to stop her from becoming the next president of the United States.
According to a written statement that McCarthy gave the National Review on Tuesday, it is the responsibility of Congress to begin proceedings for “an impeachment [of Clinton] based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency”:
For months, I have been arguing that Hillary Clinton should be impeached. It is all well and good to prosecute a former government official for any crimes she has committed. Indeed, the Constitution expressly provides for criminal prosecution in addition to impeachment. Nevertheless, for the Framers — and, if we had common sense, for us — the imperative was to deprive a corrupt person of any further opportunity to abuse government power. Whether the official should also be convicted and sent to prison was not unimportant but, in the greater scheme of things, decidedly secondary.
Interestingly, the main pushback I received upon positing this argument was not that Mrs. Clinton is undeserving of impeachment…
No, the main objection to impeachment is the claim that, because the former secretary of state does not currently hold public office, there is nothing from which to remove her. Hence, as a non-incumbent who merely seeks the nation’s highest office — after proving herself manifestly unfit in a subordinate office — she is said to be immune from impeachment. How could she be impeached from the presidency, the question is posed, if she is not president? How could she be removed from an office she does not hold based on offenses not committed while wielding presidential power?
These questions and the non-incumbency theory behind them fundamentally misconstrue the constitutional remedy of impeachment, which is not limited to removal from power but includes disqualification from future office. Moreover, their premise is wrong: The proceeding against Clinton would not be a presidential impeachment; it would be an impeachment based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency.