Politics & Policy

Harry Reid Tells Dems to Quit Impeachment Talk

Harry Reid speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2016. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Harry Reid is warning Democrats to tone down talk of impeaching President Trump.

“I say to everybody, stop it,” the former Senate majority leader told NBC News Wednesday in his first network interview since retiring after the 2016 election. “I’ve been through an impeachment, and they’re not pleasant….I think the less we talk about impeachment, the better off we are as a country.” Despite his lack of enthusiasm for impeachment, Reid still had biting criticism for the president, calling Trump “not a nice man.”

In October, 2016, Reid called for FBI director James Comey to resign for not revealing “explosive” information about the Trump campaign and Russia. In his NBC interview, Reid said he “was right” about his accusations, and felt vindicated.

Republican members of Congress, which Reid called the “limpest waffle you’ve ever seen,” also should have done more to inform the American public about suspected Russian meddling in the presidential election, and to stand up to the president, he said.

“With the Republicans, I’m not mad, I’m just terribly disappointed in what they’ve done to the institution,” he said. “I believe the federal government has been so harmed, the legislative branch has been decimated, judicial decimated, checks and balances sliding out the door,” he said.

The Senate is now “irreparably damaged” by partisan fighting, Reid said.

However, Reid did not acknowledge that his tinkering with Senate rules may have had a profound effect on the legislative body’s ability to do bipartisan work. As Senate majority leader in 2013, he weakened the filibuster so that President Obama’s judicial nominees could be confirmed more quickly. That change made it easier for votes to fall along party lines, with less pressure to work together since the Senate is currently split almost down the middle.

“Our democracy will survive, but it’s going to be tough,” Reid said.

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