The top Democrat set to become the leader of the House Judiciary Committee claimed on Sunday that if President Donald Trump broke campaign finance laws by arranging hush-money payments to mistresses, he would have committed “impeachable offenses… in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office,” Fox News informed.
The remarks by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on CNN’s “State of the Union” were striking in part because the congressman was on the Judiciary Committee when it voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton, which Nadler said at the time was tantamount to an attempted coup and a gross abuse of the impeachment power. The House Judiciary Committee initiates impeachment proceedings before they head to a full floor vote.
“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. … He may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
However, Nadler – who has said that “impeachment should not be partisan” – quickly cautioned that not every impeachable offense should actually lead to impeachment.
“They would be impeachable offenses,” Nadler told host Jake Tapper. “Whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question, but certainly they’d be impeachable offenses — because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office.”
“An impeachment is an attempt to, in effect, overturn or change the result of an election. You should do it only for very serious situations,” he added.
“If the President perjured himself about colluding with Russians, that would be worthy of impeachment,” Nadler said at a forum in September. “Perjury about some real estate deal that happened 10 years ago that the Trump Organization took, that would not be an impeachable offense. It would be a crime.”
In the August plea, the former Trump attorney Michael Cohen confessed that he violated federal campaign finance laws with the act of arranging hush-money payments to a porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal “in coordination with and at the direction” of Donald Trump.