Democrats Have 'Botched' Impeachment by Failing to Hold Trump to Account for 'Crimes Against Humanity': Former Clinton Advisor

Democratic leaders have "completely botched" impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump by failing to hold the U.S. leader to account for "crimes against humanity" he has been accused of overseeing at the U.S.-Mexico border, Democratic political advisor Peter Daou has said.

As House Democrats prepare to reveal the articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday morning, Daou, a former political advisor to past secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, told Newsweek that regardless of the charges Trump faced, Democrats had ultimately failed in their duty to hold America's president to account.

The two articles of impeachment laid against Trump later that morning were unsurprising, with the president accused of prioritizing his political concerns over national interest and obstructing Congress' efforts to investigate his alleged misconduct.

While both are serious claims, for Daou, the charges barely skimmed the surface of the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump should be pursued for.

"I see impeachment as both a constitutional and a moral imperative," the political advisor told Newsweek. "It's about holding a president to a bare basic minimum standard of moral decency."

If Democratic leaders were truly committed to holding the U.S. leader to that standard, Daou said, they would have launched the impeachment process against Trump back in January, after winning the House.

Instead, they waited for grassroots pressure to erupt following the revelation of the U.S. leader's apparent efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in a July phone call.

In January, Daou said, Democrats already had enough grounds to pursue impeachment, starting with what he branded the president's "crimes against humanity at the border, with migrant children being tortured and ripped away from their families."

Noting that the last surviving prosecutor at the Nazi Nuremberg trials, Ben Ferencz, had himself branded Trump's "zero-tolerance" family separation policy as a "crime against humanity," Daou said that letting the U.S. leader "off the hook" for enforcing the rule was "an astounding moral breach and a form of complicity."

Asked why he believes Democrats did not push forward with the impeachment process then, the political advisor said there could be several reasons.

Firstly, he said, even if the Obama administration did not enforce a family separation policy as the one Trump has overseen, Democrats are acutely aware of the fact that migrant children were detained under similar conditions as the ones they continue to face today.

"I'm not equating the behavior. What I'm saying is, and it pains me to say this, is that the reason Democrats are not doing anything about because under the Obama administration, the cages existed," Daou said. "That alone is quite an egregious thing and a serious moral lapse on the part of the Democrats, so I think they don't want to open this can of worms."

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump hosts a roundtable discussion with small business owners and members of his administration in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 06, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. leader should have been impeached over his immigration policies, a former advisor to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry has said. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Secondly, the political advisor said he believes that, ultimately, many senior Democrats are "quite comfortable with the status quo."

"They're raising tons of money off this," he said. "The Democratic very comfortable with the status quo."

But, Daou warned, while Democratic leaders are "putting on" what he branded "performative opposition" to Trump's leadership, people like senior Trump advisor Stephen Miller, who is considered a key mastermind behind the president's immigration policies, are "walking around torturing migrants freely, while Attorney General [William] Barr is treating the law like toilet paper."

Even if the president is successfully impeached based on his alleged misconduct towards Ukraine, the political advisor said, "it is effectively an exoneration for Trump of every abuse he's ever committed."

"It's a terrible disappointment and a failure, a complete moral failure, on the part of Democrats to give him a pass on everything except the Ukraine call," he said.

Further, Daou said, if the president is impeached, it is unlikely that he will be removed from office by the Republican-controlled Senate, which will have the ultimate say on whether the U.S. leader remains president.

"Instead, we have this impeachment lite at Christmas going into the election season and it's going to have no effect on Trump whatsoever," he said. "The polls are showing that and he's getting a free pass on everything."

As it stands, Daou, who is currently working as an advisor to at least four progressive Democratic congressional campaigns, said he believes that the only way to shake up the status quo is through the kind of "political revolution" Vermont Senator and 2020 Democratic hopeful has promised to deliver if elected president.

"I like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren," Daou said, "But, I move more towards Sanders as he's advocating systemic change on a much deeper level."

Newsweek has contacted the White House and House Speaker Pelosi's office for comment.

Daou, of course, is not alone in accusing Democrats of being complicit in allowing hardline immigration policies to be enforced.

Recently, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also struck out at Congress members on both sides of the aisle for having "rushed to approve" billions of dollars in funding for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies.

Both ICE and CBP continue to face widespread scrutiny over their roles in detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and in immigration detention centers across the U.S.

CBP has also faced growing condemnation over the string of child deaths that took place in the last fiscal year under the agency's watch, with at least three children dying of causes related to the flu in the last fiscal year.