Nadler: 'This is formal impeachment proceedings'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudiciary panel releases report defining impeachable offenses READ: White House letter refusing to participate in impeachment hearings White House tells Democrats it won't cooperate in impeachment hearings MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that his House panel is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE.

Nadler added that the committee will decide by the year's end whether to refer articles of impeachment to the House floor.

“This is formal impeachment proceedings,” Nadler said 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.”

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Nadler's remarks Thursday come as other House Democrats continue to urge his panel to launch an impeachment inquiry — more than half of Democrats in the lower chamber have said they support launching an inquiry.

The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Trump should be impeached, Nadler noted.

“The fact is, we are doing an investigation. We are investigating the facts, investigating the evidence,” Nadler said. “We are going into court to get witnesses all with a view toward deciding and recommending to the House whether to impeach the president.”

Nadler has urged Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) to back a formal impeachment inquiry, but Pelosi has cautioned that impeachment would be divisive and ultimately unsuccessful. Nadler, however, said the Speaker “has been very cooperative” in the Judiciary Committee's investigative efforts, adding that she signed off on recent court filings that clarified whether to call his panel's investigation an impeachment inquiry.

Democratic Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineTech finds surprise ally in Trump amid high-stakes tax fight Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing Pelosi to Democrats: 'Are you ready?' MORE (R.I.) confirmed Thursday that the committee had begun impeachment proceedings. 

"As @RepJerryNadler just said on CNN, we have begun impeachment proceedings on the Judiciary Committee," Cicilline tweeted. "Let’s see where the facts take us and hold this President accountable."

But Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage Doug Collins on potential 2020 Senate run: I'm not 'ruling it out' MORE (R-Ga.), the committee's ranking member, pushed back on their characterization.

"Chairman Nadler is either uniformed about what a formal impeachment inquiry is or he is deliberately misleading the American public to score cheap political points. Which is it, Chairman?" he tweeted.

Nadler's comments come after House Judiciary Democrats last month asked a federal court to provide the House with confidential grand jury material from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE's investigation. The lawsuit said the panel was conducting its investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment; Nadler said it was "in effect" an impeachment inquiry.

On Wednesday, the panel filed a lawsuit against former White House counsel Don McGahn. McGahn has defied the committee's subpoena for testimony regarding allegations that Trump obstructed justice in Mueller's investigation.

“The Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president based on the obstructive conduct described by the special counsel,” the filing stated. Democrats wrote that McGahn is the committee’s “most important fact witness in its consideration of whether to recommend articles of impeachment.”

Nadler said Monday that his committee could decide whether to move forward with articles of impeachment against Trump by late fall, but warned that such a decision requires certain conditions.

Nadler indicated that this decision would be made after court rulings on several cases, including Democrats' efforts to obtain redacted information from Mueller's report on Russia's election interference and whether to enforce the panel's subpoena against McGahn and other former aides who have declined to testify about their time in the administration at the request of the White House.