Nadler: 'This is formal impeachment proceedings'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBritney Spears's new attorney files motion to remove her dad as conservator Here's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer Activists see momentum as three new states legalize marijuana MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that his House panel is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race 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 PelosiHouse rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel GOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Five things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work 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 CicillineLobbying world Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills Top Democrat leads bipartisan trip to Middle East 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 CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.