Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNational Archives: Trump, Bush can review Democrats’ request for Kavanaugh records Pelosi says House recess could be cut short if Senate passes background checks bill De Niro defends Mueller: ‘A calm, confident, dignified public servant’ MORE (D-N.Y.) is hitting the rhetorical gas on Democratic efforts to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe inadvertent cyber wisdom of Donald J. Trump Is the film ‘The Hunt’ a misfire or a direct hit in our left-right divide? Warren unveils plan to combat gun violence MORE.
The Judiciary Committee chairman this week boosted his case that the panel has already launched impeachment proceedings into potential presidential wrongdoing, applying the “formal” label to the process for the first time while amplifying vows to draft impeachment articles if his ongoing probes reveal the type of misconduct to merit them.
The escalation is one of tone, rather than process. In court filings over the past several weeks, Judiciary Committee Democrats have cited the potential for impeachment as the basis for seeking disputed documents and witness testimony from an uncooperative administration, with members variably characterizing the operation as an “impeachment inquiry” or “impeachment investigation.”
Nadler’s recent comments marked an amped up extension of that strategy — one that required no votes to set it in motion. But his forceful choice of words sent a clear signal that the emboldened chairman and his committee are charging ahead with a process that could lead to impeachment votes later in the year, while beating back liberal criticisms that the panel has been too timid in its investigative approach.
“This is formal impeachment proceedings,” Nadler said Thursday night in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett. “We are investigating all the evidence, we’re gathering the evidence. And we will at the conclusion of this — hopefully by the end of the year — vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make. But that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.”
Democratic lawmakers and aides say Nadler’s comments are no indication that the party’s investigative strategy has somehow changed.
“We’re conducting an impeachment investigation, and we want to hear from all of the witnesses to President Trump’s lawlessness,” Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellNadler hits gas on impeachment Democrats race across country to woo activists The Democratic debates left the underdogs behind MORE (D-Calif.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Thursday.
But Nadler’s headline-churning remarks have clashed with the carefully constructed message from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWarren unveils plan to combat gun violence Nadler hits gas on impeachment Five proposals Congress is eyeing after mass shootings MORE (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who have rejected a formal impeachment inquiry as premature. And impeachment advocates have been heartened by Nadler’s heightened rhetoric, which they see as a significant step in the march toward official votes to oust the president.
“Chairman Nadler and his committee’s recent actions reflect the fact that Democrats are ready to take on this critical battle,” Nathaly Arriola, executive director of Need to Impeach, said Friday. “It is time for Democratic leadership to move forward with a for