Judiciary Committee chairman Nadler dismisses Kavanaugh impeachment calls

Judiciary Committee chairman Nadler dismisses Kavanaugh impeachment calls
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday appeared cool toward the liberal push for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughManchin opposes adding justices to the court Trump suggests Supreme Court nominee would tip panel against Roe v. Wade Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election MORE over sexual misconduct allegations, saying that his panel is consumed with its ongoing investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE.

Nadler indicated his committee isn't taking immediate action in response to the latest allegations regarding  Kavanaugh's time as a college student at Yale, which surfaced in a New York Times report over the weekend. Instead, Nadler said, lawmakers will ask FBI Director Christopher Wray about the issue when he appears at a hearing before the Judiciary Committee next month.


"It's too early to form a judgment one way or another. We're going to start looking into this; we're going to start with the FBI director coming in front of us next month. And we have our hands full with impeaching the president right now. And that's going to take up our limited resources and time for awhile," Nadler told WNYC's Brian Lehrer.

"We have the FBI coming before our committee next month and we're certainly going to ask them about this, and we'll see where it goes from there."

He added, "Frankly, we are concentrating our resources on determining whether to impeach the president. Personally, I think the president ought to be impeached. But we have to concentrate on that for the next few months."

Nadler said the committee's primary focus with Kavanaugh would be whether he lied to the Senate during his confirmation hearings last year.

"These deeds that he allegedly did years ago would be very relevant to a senator voting for or against his nomination. But once he's there, what's relevant now is, did he lie to the Senate?" Nadler said.

The New York Times published a story over the weekend that a former classmate said he witnessed an incident in which Kavanaugh exposed himself and a female classmate touched his penis without her consent at a dorm party. But on Monday, the newspaper added a correction noting that friends of the woman allegedly involved in the incident say she does not recall it.

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates called for Kavanaugh's impeachment, including former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose Dwayne Johnson backs Biden in first public presidential endorsement Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Democrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Mass.).

Nadler brushed off those calls, saying his panel should act judiciously as the facts warrant.

"It's one thing for a presidential candidate or anybody else to say it's their opinion that something should be done. We have official jurisdiction and whether to exercise that jurisdiction is a consequential action that we have to be able to justify," Nadler said.

The House Judiciary Committee had already been pursuing documents related to Kavanaugh's tenure as a White House staffer under former President George W. Bush, a portion of which the Senate Judiciary Committee received last year during his confirmation process. 

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee asked the National Archives to release records related to Kavanaugh's tenure both as staff secretary and in the White House counsel's office.