Donald Trump has long told his supporters that if Hillary Clinton becomes president she'll be corrupt, but in recent days he and his surrogates have begun invoking a more specific fear: impeachment.
"If Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis," Trump said Wednesday in Miami, wearing a white Make America Great Again hat and open shirt collar in the balmy weather. "Haven’t we just been through a lot with the Clintons? Remember when [Bill Clinton] was impeached for lying?… Didn’t we just go through this?"
Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani made a similar comment at an event in Iowa Wednesday. "I think that if [Hillary] Clinton should get elected, I guarantee you, in one year she'll be impeached," the former New York mayor said. "One year. And indicted. It's just going to happen."
Giuliani turned the looming impeachment fear into a memory, reminding his audience of Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998. Giuliani argued that after Bill's acquittal, "the House was afraid" to impeach President Obama.
"There were a number of areas in which they could have done it, where he acted unconstitutionally but literally we haven't caught him like we have Clinton committing a crime," he continued.
Even Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has mentioned the possibility of a Hillary Clinton impeachment: "I think unquestionably if [Clinton] takes office she is going to be under criminal investigation, unquestionably this is going to be the nation's agenda for the entire time she is office and it may well end up in impeachment," he said on "The Craig Silverman Show," CNN reports.
Raising the idea of impeachment largely rests on the ongoing investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Clinton maintains, as she always has, that she did nothing illegal with her emails. Clinton said at the end of October that she's confident that James Comey's recent announcement about newly discovered emails "will not change the conclusion reached in July,” in which the FBI director did not recommend criminal charges.
"I think people a long time ago made up their minds about the emails," Clinton said. "That’s factored into what people think. And now they’re choosing a president."
Both Trump and Giuliani spoke out against the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the past. In his 2000 book "The America We Deserve," Trump wrote that he "got a chuckle out of all the moralists in Congress and in the media" who were upset by Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, arguing that the president should have refused to discuss his private life rather than perjure himself.
In 2007, during his own run for president, Giuliani said, "I didn't think ultimately Bill Clinton should have been impeached."