Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a press conference where he addressed issues related to the city's murder rate and the city's Sanctuary City policy in Chicago on Jan. 25, 2017.
Scott Olson—Getty Images
By Alana Abramson
April 24, 2018

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a warning for Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections: don’t run on the idea of impeaching President Donald Trump.

“This is a serious legal and constitutional, not political, issue,” Emanuel a veteran of the Clinton administration, told Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen on Monday. “It’s a constitutional standard and, when that standard has been met, we’ll know about it.”

Bill Clinton was the last president impeached by Congress. In December 1998, Clinton was impeached in a near-party-line vote of the U.S. House for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was then acquitted by another near-party-line vote after a trial in the U.S. Senate.

Some major Democratic players, including mega-donor Tom Steyer, have made impeaching the President a crusade and a focal point of their agenda. Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced articles of impeachment on the floor last year, although they have acknowledged their efforts are unlikely to produce anything fruitful. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats should steer clear of promoting this concept.

“Republicans would love for us to make our campaigns about the impeachment of Trump,” she said in November at Hearst’s offices. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the well-being of American families.”

Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com.

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