Nadler turns to the courts to nab Trump, on brink of defying Pelosi in pursuit of impeachment

Despite this week’s drubbing over the disastrous performance by former special counsel Robert Mueller, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., just doesn’t know when to give up.

With Mueller dashing what little hope Nadler and his Democratic colleagues had in impeaching President Donald Trump, the chairman said he will go to court Friday to seek access to grand jury evidence compiled by Mueller’s 22-month investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, ABC News reported.

Only a small portion of Mueller’s 448 page report was redacted, reportedly just over 7 percent.

And with Wednesday’s setback, it seems that Nadler has been reduced to looking for a needle in a haystack.

House Judiciary Democrats held a news conference Friday and in a play on words, said that they don’t need to launch a formal impeachment inquiry because they’re already conducting one with their investigation of Trump, according to Roll Call.

Nadler was asked if their ongoing probe is effectively the same as an impeachment inquiry and he replied, “In effect.”

He went on to claim that by filing a formal impeachment inquiry the panel would be limited to considering impeachment.

“We will consider what we have to consider, including whether we should recommend articles of impeachment to the House,” Nadler said before walking that statement back a bit.

“We may recommend articles of impeachment at some point, we may not. It remains to be seen,” Nadler said.

 

All of which indicates that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is still not on board and Nadler is doing his best to drag the suspense of this witch hunt out as long as he can.

Nadler and Pelosi met after Mueller’s disastrous testimony to discuss Democrat’s next steps. Pelosi shot down Nadler’s efforts to move on impeachment, according to Politico. But, that doesn’t seem to be stopping Nadler who on Friday appeared intent on pursuing that path.

According to the Lawfare blog, Attorney General William Barr told Nadler and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., there were four categories of material he was redacting in the Mueller report.

(1) material subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) that cannot be made public; (2) classified information that implicates the sources and methods of the intelligence community; (3) information that is sensitive based on other ongoing law enforcement matters; and (4) information that would “unduly infringe” on the “personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

 

Nadler countered by pointed to two other occasions Congress has obtained federal grand jury information.

Those two occasions involved Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

“In every other instance where a federal grand jury was used to probe the alleged misconduct of a sitting president—namely, in the Watergate and Starr investigations—the Department of Justice worked with the relevant federal court to release the grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee,” Nadler said in a letter to Barr.

Speaking of Graham, he told reporters it’s time to “move on.”

“I think it would be good for the country if we could move on from the Mueller report,” he said. “Let that be the final word and see if we can work on securing our elections against interference in 2020… and I’m going to look at how the whole investigation started, why it went so long.

“As for Mr. Mueller, he served his country long, well, wounded in combat in Vietnam, became FBI Director after 9/11. I don’t want this to be the — define his career.”

 

Democrats are also planning a second legal move next week to continue an obstruction of justice pursuit against the president.

Nadler told CNN that a federal lawsuit to compel former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify about Trump’s efforts to impede the Russia probe will come early next week, Reuters reported.

More from the news agency:

McGahn, a star witness in the 448-page Mueller report released in April, told federal investigators that Trump directed him to seek Mueller’s removal and then to deny that he had been instructed to do so. Democrats view the alleged episode as an act of obstruction of justice that could lead to impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“We will win the court fight because the legal excuses the White House has been using are extraordinarily weak from a legal point of view,” Nadler told CNN.

 

Naturally, Nadler sees the legal move as “a potential watershed that could dismantle recent White House efforts to stonewall congressional investigators.”

“It will open up the floodgates to all,” he said, “to enforce all the subpoenas and get all the testimonies because they’re all the same nonsense legal argument.”

 

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Tom Tillison

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