The Slatest

House Judiciary Chair Says “It’s Very Clear” Trump Obstructed Justice, Will Request Dozens of Documents

Rep. Jerrold Nadler speaks during a House Rules Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler speaks during a House Rules Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says there is no doubt in his mind. “It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice. It’s very clear,” Nadler said on ABC’s This Week. Nadler pointed out that Trump has called the investigation by the special counsel a “witch hunt” many times. He also noted the president “tried to protect” former national security adviser Michael Flynn “from being investigated by the FBI” and he fired FBI director James Comey “in order to ‘stop the Russia thing,’ as he told NBC News,” Nadler said. As if that weren’t enough, “He’s dangled pardons, he’s intimidated witnesses in public,” Nadler added.

Despite his certainty, Nadler said any impeachment proceeding is a long way away. “We have to do the investigations and get all this,” he said. “We do not now have the evidence all sorted out to do an impeachment.” Nadler, whose committee would be responsible to start impeachment proceedings added that “before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”

For now, his committee will be issuing lots of document requests to more than 60 people and entities “to begin the investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power,” Nadler said. “It’s our job to protect the rule of law.” But he made clear to emphasize that just because something was a crime didn’t mean that it would be an impeachable offense. “There can be crimes that are impeachable offenses and impeachable offenses that are not crimes,” he said. “They’re just two different tests.”