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Ray LaHood: Avoid impeachment “like the plague”

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), at a Select Committee on Modernization hearing, discussed impeachment with former congressman and Obama transportation secretary what advice he would give members of Congress who want to get legislation passed in the midst of impeachment. Then-Congressman Ray LaHood, who chaired impeachment proceedings of former President Bill Clinton in 1998, told members of the committee to avoid impeachment “like the plague.”

LaHood was also recently named by Governor JB Pritzker to serve as chairman of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s board of directors because of his experience and ability to get things done. […]

Below is a written transcript of the exchange on impeachment between Davis and LaHood at the hearing.

    Davis: You had a job to do during the last impeachment proceedings — you chaired the proceedings in the House…

    LaHood: Yes..

    Davis: You and I have had conversations before about how that impeachment process impacted the ability to get things done…

    LaHood: Right.

    Davis: Can you give us any examples of how we as the Modernization Committee can offset the inaction and how can we lead to still put good policy forward in the midst of this?

    LaHood: Look, impeachment is, um, probably the most controversial, volatile thing. It’s gonna turn this place upside down. If I were where you were, I would avoid it like the plague. This place will never be the same if you go down that road and all of your work will have to come in the next Congress. It will not come in this Congress.

…Adding… His son is taking much the same approach

“There’s a lot of anxiety and frustration out there in the ag community,” U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said. “We need a win when it comes to trade. We’re suffering under the trade war with China because we’re not allowed to sell our soybeans and products to China, which is a huge market.”

LaHood said impeachment talk has taken up all the oxygen in Washington.

“And [U.S. House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi needs to put aside partisan politics and instead of being worried about giving the president a win, let’s worry about giving the American worker a win,” LaHood said. “And this will help the workers and it will help the economy here.”


  1. - NIU Grad - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    TBD I don’t think any massive transportation modernization initiatives will take place under this president, with or without impeachment.

  2. - H-W - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    “This place will never be the same if you go down that road and all of your work will have to come in the next Congress. It will not come in this Congress.”

    Wait. What? Work is getting done?

  3. - Anon E Moose - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    Cool, so Democrats can now involve foreign powers in our elections? Hey China, if you’re listening…

  4. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===and all of your work will have to come in the next Congress. It will not come in this Congress===

    LaHood probably remembers when things like Appropriations bills went through an orderly, time-honored and predictable process by subcommittees and public hearings, to develop budgets that met the needs of people and businesses, and were voted on by full committees and sent to the other chamber before going on to receive a Presidential signature or veto. This was known as “regular order.”

    Congress hasn’t worked like that in more than 15 years. It’s already broken, and impeachment isn’t going to make that dysfunctional branch of government any worse than the tribal partisanship that prevents even friendships between Democrats and Republicans possible in Congress.

    Now somehow this will impede its ability to get things done?

  5. - Bertrum Cates - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    I agree to a point with Secretary LaHood, but, sir, “it will not come in this Congress” anyhow.

  6. - Former Downstater - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    47th Ward nailed my thoughts completely.

  7. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Republican talking points…imaginary poppycock.

    It’s hard to tell how far past the need for impeachment we are… right now.

  8. - Southern_Dawg - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Yep, 47th Ward wins comment of the year. Nothing else to be said.

  9. - Wensicia - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Yes, McConnell is grateful Pelosi gave him a reason to justify his continued blocking of all legislation.

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===reason to justify his continued blocking===

    And he was so, so close to lifting it (exclamation points).


  11. - SSL - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    It’s too bad, because there are some things that need to get done.

    I get it, the left has the impeachment memories of Bubba, and sees the current resident of the WH for the buffoon he is. I don’t know how this ends, but it is a gamble.

    It would be interesting if it wasn’t so sad. Plus all the silly posturing.

  12. - Loofa - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Cool, so I take it they’re all okay with this corruption and lawlessness? Profiles in courage…

  13. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    I agree to some extent with the former Congressman. Impeachment is not a fun process for anyone but sadists. But on the other hand, he chaired an impeachment inquiry on a president that lied about fellatio. Seems pretty quaint compared to what is alleged, and even what we know is fact about the conduct of the current president.

  14. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:39 pm:

    Trump is counting on this (avoid impeachment) - he has from the beginning.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:40 pm:


    Impeachment is used at times when reasonable-ness has outlived its usefulness.

    It’s not intended to smooth over anything.

  16. - Techie - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    As others have pointed out, it’s not like the current Congress, with the ultimate obstructionist McConnel in charge of the Senate, was doing anything meaningful, anyway.

    And even if they were, impeaching a President who violates campaign finance laws is the right thing to do anyway.

  17. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    Impeachment might hurt house dems politically in certain house districts, but don’t they kind of have to do it anyway? If they don’t, they’re basically telling every president who comes after trump that this stuff fine

  18. - The monster - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    “we used a tool improperly and now it can never be used (especially against us) no matter how justified or important”

  19. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    I can get my LaHood is not a fan on the impeachment process, but anyone acting like this is what killed infrastrucure week needs to check themselves.

    Rep LaHood if trade and infrastrucure is so importnat why does the President tweet more about his grevences than he does about either trade or infrastrucure.

  20. - Jibba - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said. “We need a win when it comes to trade. We’re suffering under the trade war…Nancy Pelosi needs to put aside partisan politics and instead of being worried about giving the president a win…”

    So Trump makes a trade war, and he alone can stop it. But somehow it is Pelosi who gets blamed for the real damage Trump is doing to farmers? Not partisan at all.

  21. - Alex - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    LaHood Jr argument is really something. Pelosi shouldn’t impeach the President because it’s what the President wants? I’m sure LaHood has Pelosi’s best interests at heart.

  22. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    If the Clinton impeachment never occurred the most meaningful comparison we would have would be to Nixon. And in that instance it operated as intended. Clinton revealed the flaws in pursuing impeachment where it likely wasn’t warranted and the price the Republicans ultimately paid reflected how people felt at the end of the process. In short there was very little “there” there and Republicans paid the price.

    The current situation is much more similar to what occurred under Nixon. Now it’s possible at the end of the day that Trump is able to emerge victorious, but that’s an iffy proposition. To suggest that we simply ignore an attempt to solicit interference in an election is to render the constitution and rule of law meaningless.

  23. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    For all of us that have memories that date back further than 2017, Darin, we recall all the times that the GOP controlled Congress refused to do anything but shout Benghazi from the rooftops. Spare me.

  24. - Casual observer - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    Secretary Lahood spot on. Impeachment proceedings a huge mistake. He’s never going to be convicted in the Senate—ever. You could hear the thud of failure on Mars when Clinton not removed from office by the U.S. Senate. And Clinton left office with a 58% approval rating after having had sex with an intern in the oval office.

  25. - Not a Superstar - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    == This place will never be the same ==

    Time is a flat circle. I mean, really, Mr. Secretary. Whatever gets you through the night. But that place hasn’t been the same for years. And the consequences of the House failing to act would be devastating to Congress’s institutional authority for years to come.

  26. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    Some or many Democrats were howling for impeachment before the whistleblower complaint, but Pelosi was treading carefully. Now because of an alleged crime and cover-up, the soliciting of foreign help for an election and removing the verbatim transcript, Pelosi is on board for the inquiry.

    China, if you’re reading, I hope you’ll be able to find the transcript that is missing.

  27. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    =He’s never going to be convicted in the Senate—ever.=

    Not convicting Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair is a bit different than letting Trump off the hook for soliciting election interference from a foreign government. It’s entirely possible that Trump isn’t convicted in the Senate. But the consequences of failing to do so given the allegations could be a bit different. And regardless, as others have pointed, not doing anything at this point really isn’t an option.

  28. - Jibba - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    Davis voted to repeal Obamacare 40+ times, he is proud to say, but none of those bills stood a chance with a Democratic-controlled Senate. I’m sure that his efforts did not detract from any real work that could have been done in that time. /s.

  29. - casual observer - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    Doing what? Conducting investigations with no outcome other than failure? Be smart. Use it against him in the campaign. Why energize the base and turn off the people who don’t like him but don’t like mindless politics either. This is going to backfires and we will get 4 more years of the nonsense. Be smart!

  30. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    Maybe we could run a practice impeachment proceedings on LaHood.

  31. - SSL - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    Pelosi didn’t want impeachment two weeks ago, and I don’t know that she wants it now. She can’t control her own caucus, and despite trying to keep the hard line freshmen in line, she had to move at this point. She knows the risk.

    If the chosen one had won in 2016, would the concern over influenced elections and bad behavior be as strong. Possibly.

    Instead, we got the orange man. And after the House is done, we’ll still have him. If he staves off a recession and gets something done with China, the House may get another whack at him in 2021.

  32. - The monster - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    It’s kinda sad that not wanting you president to shake down countries to dig up dirt on political rivalsfor personal political gain is considered “partisan”, but I guess that’s where we are

  33. - JS Mill - Friday, Sep 27, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Pun sent is spot on. The current situation is not comparable to Cli Ron where is hubris led him to think he could get away with lying about an affair.

    Funny how Secretary LaHood wants us to stay away from impeachment but helped lead it before. And maybe that is why he loathes it, but you can’t have the high ground here.

    Darren LaHood is an incredibly weak congressmen and, to the best of my recall, has never stated anything of real substance or original thinking. It is usually party patter.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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