Ted Cruz Complains Democrats Will Try to Impeach Trump Just Because He Might Be Violating Constitution

The Texas senator cast congressional oversight of the president as "political warfare."

Dana Bash interviewed Texas senator and owner of the beard most resembling a Civil War general Ted Cruz on Sunday, presumably because she enjoys being gaslit by members of Congress. There is really no other explanation.

Bash hosted Cruz while she filled in as host of CNN’s State of the Union. The topic of the first half of the interview was – what else? – the Mueller report. After some perfunctory bashing that hit on the GOP talking points about the investigation – it went on too long, Mueller hired Democratic lawyers to work on it, no one got indicted for collusion – the topic turned to whether or not Democrats will seek to impeach Donald Trump.

“You asked Congressman Nadler whether the house is going to impeach the president,” Cruz said at one point, referring to an interview Bash conducted earlier with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). “I’ll answer that for you. Yes…He said, listen, the special counsel is focused on crimes. We’re not all that concerned with crimes. Our focus, this is Democrats in the House, is much broader than crimes.”

Cruz makes this sound like something bad, but in fact it is basic civics. The Constitution says that a president can be impeached for any “high crimes or misdemeanors.” Such misdemeanors could include, say, violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits a president from receiving gifts or money from foreign states. Whether the Trump family’s ownership of a hotel down the street from the White House, which has hosted countless foreign dignitaries and events over the last two years, constitutes an Emoluments Clause violation because the money paid to it eventually winds up in the Trump Organization’s pockets is a question that is still working its way through the legal system in the form of various civil lawsuits.

If the courts rule that every minute Trump maintains an ownership stake in the hotel violates the Emoluments Clause, Congress would be within its rights to impeach him for that, since he will have violated his oath of office to protect the Constitution.

Cruz went on to say that “I disagreed with Barack Obama on a host of issues but I didn’t believe he should be impeached.”

Actually, Cruz’s position on impeachment in the Obama years was to essentially dodge the question by saying it was up to the House of Representatives. He is on record as saying this. He is also on record as saying Obama was “picking and choosing” what laws he wanted to enforce. Which was certainly an impeachable offense, if it had been true. He certainly drove conservative conversations on the issue while not flat-out endorsing impeachment.

Cruz also said to Bash, “The extremism that we’re seeing in the Democratic Party, their focus is obsessively on trying to destroy the president and this administration. That’s not good for the American people. We ought to be coming together and solving the real problems, not just engage in relentless political warfare.”

Ted Cruz once shut down the entire United States Senate to get Obama to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act, which was Obama’s greatest legislative achievement, for no obvious reason other than getting the conservative base riled up and burnishing his credentials for a 2016 presidential campaign. To now criticize the Democrats for engaging in “relentless political warfare” is hypocrisy. And to claim he didn’t want to impeach President Obama is gaslighting of the highest order.

Watch the clip up top, via CNN.

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Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.

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