Nadler: Judiciary panel could reach impeachment decision by late fall

Nadler: Judiciary panel could reach impeachment decision by late fall
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse passes sweeping reform bill to decriminalize marijuana This week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday said that his committee could decide whether to move forward with articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE by late fall of this year but cautioned that such a decision requires certain conditions.

"If we decide to report articles of impeachment, we could get to that in the late fall perhaps — in the latter part of the year," Nadler said in an appearance on MSNBC.


Nadler presented the rough timeline shortly after House Democrats crossed a threshold last week, in which a majority of the caucus — 118 — has voiced support for launching an impeachment inquiry to formally examine whether the president has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors."

The New York Democrat indicated that this decision would be made after court rulings on several cases, including Democrats' efforts to obtain redacted information from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election a nd whether to enforce the panel's subpoena against former White House counsel Don McGahn and other former aides, who have declined to testify about their time in the administration at the request of the White House.

"The calendar is whatever it is," Nadler said. "We can't let the election calendar dictate. I think that we will probably get the court decisions by the end of October. We will have hearings in September and October who are witnesses not dependent on the court proceedings and we will do it through the fall."

Nadler also noted that three key ingredients must exist before moving forward with articles of impeachment: The committee must be able to prove the president committed impeachable offenses, answer whether they reach the threshold of serious impeachable offenses and have the support of the American people.

Polls currently indicate that a majority of U.S. citizens do not favor impeachment, but Nadler thinks his committee's work will likely change their minds.

"We will hold these hearings. We will get the support of the American people or we won't. I suspect we will," Nadler said. 

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Calif.) has opposed launching an impeachment inquiry and instead sought to focus Democrats' energy on their investigations into Trump and his administration.

But even if House ultimately decided to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump, Democrats would face a far more difficult time seeking to convince the GOP-controlled Senate of removing Trump from office. 

Republicans have blasted Nadler and his probe for seeking a partisan investigation, particularly in an attempt to hurt Trump ahead of 2020. Democrats say it is their duty to conduct oversight.

Late last month, Nadler and others heralded the testimony of Mueller as a resounding success, despite Democrats privately saying the high-profile hearing in many ways failed to match their hope and expectations.

Still, Nadler, who jabbed the press for initially acting like "theater critics" over the Mueller's testimony, called it an "inflection point."

While the former FBI chief did not present any new evidence during the hearings — and oftentimes gave basic or one-word answers — he did confirm on camera that his investigation did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice. Mueller also emphasized Russia's active efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, while describing the Trump encouraging WikiLeaks to publish damaging information on his opponent as "problematic."

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrKellyanne Conway acknowledges Biden as apparent winner Trump Pentagon nominee alleged Biden 'coup': report Ex-FBI lawyer who falsified document in Trump-Russia probe seeks to avoid prison MORE and other Justice Department officials ultimately decided the evidence on obstruction did not reach the threshold to conclude the president committed a crime.

Mueller's investigation ultimately did not find sufficient evidence that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia.

But Democrats say it is now in the hands of Congress to make that determination, and they will continue to collect evidence in order to do so.

"The Mueller report was the summary of the evidence, we don't have the evidence," Nadler said on MSNBC. "We will get the evidence in public hearings in front of the American people and then we will see about the conclusions."