Nadler Just Openly Admitted the Truth on Impeachment: It's 'a Political Act'


When it comes to the Trump impeachment drumbeat, few lawmakers have been as insistent and transparent as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. The New York representative was at it again Friday, although he may have let on a bit too much in his remarks during a radio interview.

Nadler was making an appearance on WNYC, Gotham’s NPR outlet, when he said there “certainly is” justification for impeaching President Donald Trump.

However, his definition of impeachment — and what he thinks the role of congressional investigations are — may not resemble yours.

“Impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it,” he said, according to Politico.

“The American people right now do not support it because they do not know the story. They don’t know the facts. We have to get the facts out. We have to hold a series of hearings, we have to hold the investigations.”

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Now, let’s look at the assumptions there.

The first is that impeachment is ostensibly a political decision, not a legal one.

There might be legal language behind it — Trump lied! Trump obstructed justice! What about Michael Cohen and that non-disclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels? — but the decision for or against impeachment is now about how it would affect the Democrats’ chances in 2020 and beyond, not anything the president may or may not have done.

And it’s been that way long before special counsel Robert Mueller released his report, mind you — you just heard it on the fringes.

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In September 2017, long before the report had been released, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters laid out the political calculus a little too perfectly.

“Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment. What the Constitution says is ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and we define that,” she said, according to

Never mind the fact that “high crimes and misdemeanors” is actually a phrase taken by the Founding Fathers from 14th century English parliamentary law that deals with specific acts regarding gross errors in governance.

Waters was willing to say at the time what other Democrats wouldn’t: If it worked out well enough for them, they’d certainly find the crime.

And then there’s the second part of Nadler’s formulation: The reasons Americans don’t support impeachment isn’t because they don’t think the grounds for it exist or because they’ve wearied of political gamesmanship. It’s because they just don’t know enough, duh!

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When the Democrats “get the facts out” to these poor, uninformed wretches, they’ll be onboard with impeachment like all knowledgeable folk are.

I don’t know how much more condescending you can get, given that Americans have been force-fed news about the Mueller investigation like a goose destined to become foie gras undergoing gavage.

They’re pretty darn well informed — and they still don’t care.

But there’s the third issue with what Nadler said: To turn these people into impeachment supporters, “[w]e have to get the facts out. We have to hold a series of hearings, we have to hold the investigations.”

In other words, the goal of these investigations and hearings isn’t to discover the facts and decide whether impeachment is called for.

That seems to have already been decided, as far as Nadler is concerned. This, instead, appears to be a kangaroo court to dredge up support for an expressly political act.

“Nadler emphasized that he intends to use the next few weeks to bring special counsel Robert Mueller’s report ‘to life,’ providing for a television audience the dramatic evidence that Mueller compiled about Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” Politico reported.

“Part of that will include testimony from Mueller himself, Nadler said, even if Mueller sticks to his promise to limit his comments to the findings of his report.”

What else will bringing Mueller’s report “to life” include, pray tell? A life-size wax diorama of the president bawling out Jeff Sessions? Letting Michael Cohen out on a day pass so he can give a dramatic monologue about how awful Trump is? Really, I’d love to know this.

And then there was the requisite reference to former President Richard Nixon during the interview, because of course.

“Part of the function of Congress, just the same as the Watergate hearings 40 years ago, [is] to have a dialogue with the American people so people can make informed decisions and know what’s going on,” Nadler said.

“It’s very important that [Mueller], to a television audience and to the American people, state it and answer questions about it, even if there is no new information.”

Yes, “even if there is no new information,” this apparently qualifies as a “dialogue with the American people” — not a monologue where old information is being recapitulated in yet another round of hearings and investigations in the vain hope that it all takes with the plebs this time.

There’s been a recent surge in the number of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who support starting an impeachment inquiry, with 11 of 24 Democrats saying they want proceedings on the matter to begin.

How far that gets is anyone’s guess, given that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has been actively reining in any desire on the part of the Democrats to pursue impeachment.

Given that this is an individual who has said the president needs an “intervention,” that’s saying something about how she thinks the political calculus will work out for them.

However, Nadler’s proving true what Waters said long ago: For the Democrats, “high crimes and misdemeanors” is whatever they say it is. Impeachment is, first and foremost, a political decision — a decision to destroy Trump at whatever cost.

For once, you can believe every word Jerrold Nadler says.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture