As per FBI Director James B. Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton learned this week she will not be indicted for her email indiscretions, but she may well face an impeachment process if she is elected president. If we have learned anything from Republican behavior during the Obama years and, yes, during the Bill Clinton presidency, it is that the GOP will do almost anything to obstruct a Democratic president from devoting the necessary time and energies to serving the country.
House Republicans are laying the groundwork for such a move after grilling Comey during a hearing Thursday for four hours. They are not convinced he was right in determining Clinton did not commit a prosecutable offense by handling top secret emails on her personal server. Indeed, they will seek further investigation by the FBI as to whether Clinton perjured herself during testimony before Congress.
If she is elected president, and Republicans remain in the majority in the House, expect impeachment talk to be front and center from the start of her administration. Don't expect Donald Trump to bring impeachment up during the campaign as it would hint he doesn't think he would win. But if he loses, expect a fusillade of tweets and rants that Hillary should be impeached.
The Constitution states a president may be impeached for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." Clinton's alleged failures fall under the vaguely-worded "high crimes and misdemeanors." Former President Gerald Ford, when he was House minority leader more than four decades ago, defined an impeachable offense as "whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."
A GOP majority in the House jumps that hurdle.
However, it is uncertain if actions taken before she was elected president would qualify Clinton for impeachment. Doubters need only look to Ford's analysis to expect a positive take on that question from a Republican House.
Impeachment, though, would not kick Clinton out of the White House, as conviction would require a two-thirds vote by the Senate, a level of agreement difficult to attain in a forum expected to be almost equally divided by the parties. As more than a dozen Democrats would have to vote to convict, Hillary, like her husband, would remain in office after acquittal by the Senate.
For Republicans, however, the reward of impeachment is not necessarily in conviction as even then the presidency would remain in Democratic hands. Rather, the GOP goal is to stymie Clinton, to divert her attention from governing.
Clinton would not be the loser. The country would, unless you believe in the Republican mantra first espoused by Ronald Reagan that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," and any reduction in government is a benefit, even if it means harming, perhaps irrevocably, our national institutions.