Politics

House Judiciary Chair Nadler says impeachment articles will 'presumably' be introduced this week

Ben Kamisar
Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) listens as constitutional scholars testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that his panel will "presumably" present articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump this week.

"We'll bring articles of impeachment presumably before the committee at some point later in the week," Nadler said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press."

On Monday, the committee will hear from both Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee about the findings from their investigation into allegations that the president led a campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the top Democrats running for president in 2020.

Nadler said that congressional leaders haven't finalized many of the key details of what may be included in any impeachment articles, saying that there are still significant "consultations" to come between committee members, House Democrats and Democratic leadership before they are finalized.

And the chairman kept the door open as to whether Democrats will ultimately cite the Mueller Report's findings as part of any articles.

But he framed impeaching the president as an imperative, both aimed at holding the president accountable for what Nadler called " overwhelming evidence" that Trump "put himself before the country" as well as concerns about the fairness of the 2020 presidential election.

"It's certainly abuse of power, it might be obstruction of Congress," Nadler said of Trump's conduct, as he previewed the potential articles of impeachment.

"He put himself above the country, he sought to get foreign interference against the integrity of our election. This is a matter of urgency to deal with because we have to make sure the next election is conducted with integrity and without foreign interference."

Nadler's comments come as the House inquiry shifts into a new gear after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly directed committee chairmen last week to move forward to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

On Saturday, the Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the constitutional grounds for impeachment. There remains significant debate about where the House will ultimately land, including concerns from some moderates who want the investigation to stay focused on allegations Trump used his office for political gain by pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden, instead of re-litigating the findings in the Mueller Report.

Nadler said those concerns are "one factor to consider," but added that "we also have to consider the fact that we have to call the president for his violations of the constitution and the considerable risk he poses to the next direction."

When asked whether the 2020 election would be conducted fairly if Trump was ultimately acquitted, Nadler replied, "I don't know."

"The president, based on his past performance, will do everything he can to make it not a fair election."

But after weeks of public testimony, public opinion on impeachment has hardly budged. And most Republicans, from the moderates to the key allies of Trump, appear to not have been swayed to support impeachment or removing Trump from office.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the debate over impeachment is obfuscating the fact that Trump's Russia policy has been tougher "by orders of magnitude than [former President] Barack Obama's ever was."

"This is a kangaroo court in the House. They're going to impeach, not because they have the evidence but because they hate the president," he said of House Democrats.

"But it's going to go to the Senate, it's going to go nowhere, and I think the American people know this is a waste of time."

And while acknowledging that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Cruz argued that Ukraine was guilty of its own meddling too.

"On the evidence, Russia clearly interfered in our election. But here's the game the media is playing: Because Russia interfered, the media pretends nobody else did," Cruz said.

"Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election. The sitting ambassador from Ukraine wrote an op-ed blasting Donald Trump during the election season. That is unusual."

That op-ed, published in The Hill in August of 2016 by Ukranian ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly, came after Trump told ABC News that the Crimean people "would rather be with Russian than" part of Ukraine, and that he would, as president, make sure that Russia doesn't invade Ukraine.

In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a move that then-Secretary of State John Kerry called an "invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory."