×

Congressman who has boasted of impeachment bona fides takes number two spot at House Judiciary

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wins against Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., by a vote of 118-72 to become the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary committee.
  • Nadler becomes the top Democrat on the House committee that traditionally takes the first vote on articles of impeachment.
  • Nadler's campaign materials reportedly boasted that he was the "strongest member to lead a potential impeachment."
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
Getty Images
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

A New York congressman whose campaign materials reportedly boasted that he was the "strongest member to lead a potential impeachment" ascended handily on Wednesday to become the top Democrat on the House committee that traditionally takes the first vote on articles of impeachment.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., won against Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., by a vote of 118-72 to become the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary committee.

"This is a critical time in our nation's history, and the work of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee is more important than ever," Nadler said in a statement following the vote.

Nadler said he would "hold the Trump Administration accountable for its destructive policies and unprecedented misconduct."

In a speech before the vote, Nadler said the country is "possibly on the verge of a constitutional crisis," according to POLITICO.

Nadler told The New York Times that he didn't "relish having a constitutional crisis."

"I do relish fighting to protect the constitutional order, to protect people, to protect our democratic system. Yes, if we have to have that fight, I want to be a leader here," he said.

Nadler has been protective of special counsel Robert Mueller's authority to investigate the president's ties to Russia.

In March, the congressman posted a series of messages to his Twitter account alongside the hashtag "TrumpRussia" that said: "We have a duty to resolve this question, to get answers, to pursue the truth, and to remove any cancer we may find."

The congressman also said there was a "cancer" at the heart of the Trump administration's credibility.

In a June letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Nadler asked: "Does the law need to be modified in any way to ensure that Mr. Mueller may pursue the investigation wherever it may lead, without the possibility of political interference?"

At a Dec. 13 congressional hearing, Nadler asked Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel, whether there was any good reason to fire Mueller. Rosenstein said "no."

Reached for comment, White House spokesman Raj Shah sent CNBC a statement he had previously given to news organizations, calling it "disappointing that extremists in Congress still refuse to accept the President's decisive victory in last year's election."

Shah issued the same statement following a failed impeachment vote in the House earlier in December.

Nadler voted at the time with the majority to quash the effort to impeach the president.

"I don't want to vote on impeachment," Nadler told The Hill in September. "I think it's too early. We don't have the evidence; we don't have the case."

Nadler's office referred CNBC to Nadler's communications director, Daniel Schwarz. Schwarz did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Approving articles of impeachment, which requires a majority vote in the House, would likely depend on the partisan makeup of Congress. Democrats would need to flip 24 seats in the House to control the lower body. A conviction requires a two-thirds vote from the Senate.