Clinton tells PEOPLE she now supports Trump's impeachment: "I did not come to that decision easily or quickly, but this is an emergency as I see it"

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall Adam Carlson
September 24, 2019 05:07 PM

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday joined the rising chorus of Democrats calling for at least an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump following reports that Trump pressured Ukraine’s government to look into unsubstantiated theories about the family of his leading 2020 challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Clinton, a sharp critic of Trump since narrowly losing to him in the 2016 presidential election, made the impassioned call during an exclusive interview with PEOPLE set to be published in next week’s issue.

“We are in a crisis,” Clinton said.

She told PEOPLE she was now supporting Trump’s impeachment. “I did not come to that decision easily or quickly,” she said, “but this is an emergency as I see it. … This latest behavior around Ukraine, trying to enlist the president of Ukraine in a plot to undermine former Vice President Biden or lose the military aid he needs to defend against Trump’s friend Vladimir Putin — if that’s not an impeachable offense, I don’t know what is.”

Clinton was referring to additional reporting that Trump had stopped congressionally approved financial support for Ukraine, which is in a conflict with Russia, before he spoke with Ukraine’s president about Biden and Biden’s son Hunter. Trump has said the two were not related.

He has denied wrongdoing, saying his call with Ukraine’s president was not improper, and he dismissed criticism that he used his power as president for blatant electioneering as a “witch hunt.”

He instead accused Biden and Hunter of “corruption,” without further evidence.

Calling Trump a “a reckless, corrupt human tornado who cares only about himself,” Clinton told PEOPLE it is the constitutional duty of the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings “not happily or with glee,” but in the interests of national security.

Watch the full episode of People Features: Hillary & Chelsea Clinton, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

“The president of the United States is betraying our country on a daily basis,” she said, adding, “This man who is in the Oval Office right now is a clear and present danger to the future of the United States.”

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From left: Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump
Chip Somodevilla/Getty; Noam Galai/WireImage

About Republicans, Clinton said, “They’ve got to put country before party and there is no substitute for a careful, thoughtful response.” Trump has faced some limited criticism from his own party over the Ukraine controversy.

Sitting beside her daughter, Chelsea, and discussing their upcoming book, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience, the former secretary of state sat stiffly upright when the subject turned to Trump and the latest reporting about his communication with the Ukrainian president on the Bidens.

Loudly and forcefully she denounced Trump for “undermining the more perfect union” of the U.S.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted Tuesday she was on the verge of announcing her support for an impeachment inquiry — essentially a stop-gap that will allow Democrats to further probe Trump’s communications with Ukraine about Biden, among their other investigations of his administration, as lawmakers mull whether to proceed with formal impeachment.

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“This isn’t about politics. If we have to honor our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, that’s what we’ll have to do,” Pelosi said at The Atlantic Festival on Tuesday. “But we have to have the facts. That’s why I’ve said, as soon as we have the facts, we’re ready. Now we have the facts, we’re ready … for later today.”

Indeed, later Tuesday afternoon, she announced Congressional Democrats would begin an impeachment inquiry.

“The president must be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”

Almost immediately, Trump tweeted in all-caps “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

The White House had no comment on Clinton’s remarks.

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