14:58 GMT +307 December 2019
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    In this Monday, May 21, 2018 photo, former President Bill Clinton speaks during an interview about a novel he wrote with James Patterson, The President is Missing, in New York

    ‘You Got Hired to Do a Job': Bill Clinton Advises Trump to Ignore Impeachment Proceedings

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    Former President Clinton, who was nearly impeached during his time in office, on Thursday advised President Trump to leave fighting impeachment to his staff and focus on his agenda.

    The House held its first public hearings on Wednesday in its impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival. Clinton wasn’t shy in offering insight on how Trump might handle the prospect of impeachment.

    "My message would be, look, you got hired to do a job," Clinton said during a phone interview with CNN. "You don't get the days back you blow off. Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen. And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry, and they should just have at it.' Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people. That's what I would do."

    Trump has said multiple times he will not work with Congress while the Democratic-controlled lower chamber investigates him, despite multiple issues that would need Congress’ approval including a trade deal with China and legislation to lower drug pricing.

    Clinton was also critical of the Trump administration’s actions regarding gun violence. The ex-president, who signed off on an assault weapons ban in 1994 that has since expired, suggested that the “gun lobby” pulled Trump back from passing legislation.

    “At some point, you know, denial is no longer an option. And Congress is basically in denial of the consequences of doing nothing. Or at least the people who are opposed to it,” Clinton said.

    The Trump administration had been in talks with lawmakers earlier this year in the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. While Trump expressed openness to stronger background checks, talks eventually fell by the wayside. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday announced an initiative focused on more rigorously prosecuting gun crimes. Asked about the potential for congressional action on gun violence, Barr told reporters that negotiations had been sidelined because of impeachment proceedings.

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