Trump Impeachment Decision Splits Democratic Presidential Candidates
President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached, but the House Judiciary Committee is still investigating to determine whether to report resolutions to the full House, the panel’s chairman said.
“He richly deserves impeachment. He has done many impeachable offenses. He’s violated the law six ways from Sunday,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” one of two TV appearances on Sunday. “The question is: can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people? We’ve broken the logjam.”
Nadler spoke after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified July 24 before Nadler’s committee and the House Intelligence panel about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Trump campaign’s willingness to accept help from Russia, and possible obstruction of justice by the president or his aides.
On Friday, House Democrats took a significant step toward opening an impeachment inquiry as the Judiciary Committee asked a federal court to force the release of grand jury information from Mueller’s investigation.
Pressed on ABC’s “This Week” whether House Democrats are already pursuing a case, given his panel’s consideration of impeachment resolutions, Nadler repeated that the committee is still investigating whether to report those to the House or draft its own for the full body to consider. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she wants to have the strongest possible case before pursuing impeachment proceedings.
Despite questions about whether Mueller’s appearance advanced the case for impeachment, Nadler defended calling him to testify because it “broke the lie” that Trump and Attorney General William Barr have repeated that the report showed no collusion or obstruction by Trump and completely exonerated the president.
“The hearing the other day was an inflection point because it showed quite clearly that the report did not exonerate the president,” Nadler said on CNN.
Asked whether Trump should be prosecuted after he leaves office, Nadler said that “anyone else who had done what he did would have been indicted for at least five different major crimes.”
Anyone who’s immune from prosecution by virtue of being a sitting president “should be prosecuted” after leaving office, he said, “or at least impeached and removed from office if you can prove those crimes.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Mueller’s testimony had been “chilling.” There may be a point in a few months where “we decide, ‘Look, he is violating a different provision in the Constitution by obstructing the Congress in its lawful and constitutional duty,’” Schiff said.
Still, Schiff said there’s “no simple answer” to impeachment, and that he worries “about taking impeachment case to trial, losing that case, having the president acquitted and having an adjudication that this conduct is not impeachable.”
A trial would be held in the Republican-controlled Senate if the House passes articles of impeachment.
Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the impeachment inquiry “is going nowhere.”
Trump also weighed in on Saturday, saying Mueller, the former FBI director, had demonstrated “ineptitude & incompetence” in his long-awaited testimony.