A top aide to Rep. Jerry Nadler lashed out Friday at a Republican lawmaker who questioned the Manhattan Democrat’s claim that he has effectively already started impeachment hearings aimed at President Trump.
Robert Gottheim, Nadler’s district director, derided Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the minority leader on Nadler’s Judiciary Committee, for saying that Nadler was misleading the country about impeachment.
“Why are you listening to Collins? Collins doesn’t know s–t” Gottheim told the News as Nadler stood by. “Collins is not on our side and not one of us.”
The unseemly outburst focused more attention on Nadler’s insistence that the political world has it all wrong — he’s already started impeachment hearings against President Trump.
“We are gathering evidence and pursuing a formal impeachment process,” Nadler said. “This is an investigation into the impeachment of President Trump.”
The Judiciary Committee chairman said that within a few months the panel will decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the entire House or Representatives.
“We will at the conclusion of this — hopefully by the end of the year — vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor,” he told CNN. “Or we won’t.”
Just on Wednesday, his committee sued to enforce the subpoena of ex-White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the probe into Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice in the Russia election interference investigation. Nadler sued last month to obtain the underlying evidence uncovered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and grand jury testimony.
Nadler’s remarks could be part of an effort by the Democratic leadership in Congress to defuse pressure from liberals to launch a full-blown Congressional impeachment hearing similar to the one that targeted President Richard Nixon in the Watergate probe.
More than half the Democratic representatives in the House now back such a probe. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has opposed it, apparently believing impeachment will be a loser with voters as 2020 looms.
Nadler’s new claim may be signalling a plan for Pelosi to have it both ways: Democrats will gain the legal and political leverage that comes with pushing the impeachment probe without irritating voters who want them to focus on kitchen table issues.
Collins trashed Nadler for “misleading the American people.”
“Nadler is either uniformed about what a formal impeachment inquiry is or he is deliberately misleading the American public to score cheap political points,” Collins tweeted after the CNN interview.
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