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 NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday appeared cool toward the liberal push for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment January reminds us why courts matter — and the dangers of 'Trump judges' Planned Parenthood launches M campaign to back Democrats in 2020 MORE over sexual misconduct allegations, saying that his panel is consumed with its ongoing investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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 Devi HarrisParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses 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.