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Nadler: There ‘certainly’ is justification to impeach Trump

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Nadler: There ‘certainly’ is justification to impeach Trump

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Friday “there certainly is” justification for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but said it was critical for the American public to agree before launching the process.

During an interview on WNYC, Nadler, whose committee would lead impeachment proceedings, cautioned the move, noting the importance of having the American public on board first.

TRUMP BLASTS MUELLER AS ‘HIGHLY CONFLICTED,’ CALLS IMPEACHMENT A ‘DIRTY, FILTHY, DISGUSTING WORD’

“Impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it,” said Nadler, D-N.Y. “The American people, right now, do not support it because they do not know the story. They don’t know the facts.”

Nadler added: “We have to get the facts out. We have to hold a series of hearings, we have to hold the investigations.”

Nadler also vowed to hold televised hearings to “have a dialogue with the American people so people can make informed decisions and know what’s going on.”

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

Nadler’s comments come after Mueller made a rare public appearance Wednesday—his first and only during his tenure as special counsel. Mueller announced the Russia investigation was officially closed, and his resignation from the Justice Department, and intention to return to private life.

Despite Nadler’s comments Friday, though, Mueller said he did not plan to testify before any congressional committees.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time I will speak to you on this matter,” Mueller told reporters Wednesday. “No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.”

“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress,” he continued. “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.”

Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday defended Mueller’s intention not to testify before Congress.

“It’s up to Bob, but I think the line he’s drawing, which is he’s going to stick to what’s in the report, is the proper line for any department official,” Barr told CBS News Friday.

Mueller’s appearance on Wednesday prompted congressional Democrats to more seriously discuss potential impeachment proceedings against the president. Mueller detailed the findings in his probe, maintaining that there was “not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy” with regard to whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

But Mueller did not mince words on his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.”

Mueller explained the longstanding Justice Department policy, which states that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and thus said “charging the president was not an option we could consider.”

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Mueller added that “it would be unfair to accuse someone of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge.”

But Mueller said that while the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion blocks a president from indictment while in office, “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing.”

Some on the left took that comment as a green light to ramp up talks about impeachment proceedings against the president.

But despite growing calls from rank-and-file Democrats, party leadership, including Nadler and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have treaded lightly on the topic, vowing to investigate allegations against the president, but stopping short of calling to begin impeachment proceedings.

Following Mueller’s public statement, Nadler vowed that Congress would “respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.”

“No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,” Nadler said Wednesday.

Pelosi, this week, also said that Democrats “want to do what’s right and what gets results.”

“We’re legislating, we’re investigating and we’re litigating,” Pelosi said. “Everybody wants justice, everybody wants the president to be held accountable.”

Trump, though, blasted the idea as a “scam.”

“I don’t see how they can,” Trump said Thursday. “It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word, impeach. It’s high crimes –there was no high crime. So how do you impeach?”

But even without launching official impeachment proceedings, congressional Democrats are leading several high-profile Trump-focused investigations. Nadler’s committee is investigating the administration’s handling of Mueller’s report, and even voted to hold Barr in contempt for defying a subpoena requiring that he turn over an unredacted version of Mueller’s report, and its underlying evidence and documents. The president, in turn, asserted executive privilege over the files in a bid to protect them from release.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee, Oversight Committee, Ways and Means Committee and Financial Services Committee are all investigating the president and have aggressively sought his financial statements and documents for their probes, as well as testimony from high-profile Trump administration officials.

Thus far, the White House has directed the officials to defy their subpoenas to appear before Congress, and the president has vowed to block “all” subpoenas.

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has wielded her power to quash a faction of Democrats rallying for President Trump’s impeachment, but frustrated members within the party say the president is one misstep away from “that dam collapsing,” according to a Sunday report.

Since reassuming leadership over the house, Pelosi has thwarted her party’s liberal wing from going forward with impeachment proceedings, encouraging them to instead focus on other issues like health care.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump's statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump’s statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 
(AP)

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care,” Pelosi told CNN on Sunday. “It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

Some lawmakers say their deference to Pelosi is out of respect for the speaker’s political expertise, and agree that impeachment would do more harm than good.

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“She is the single smartest strategist that we’ve ever had…People are not wanting to second guess her because she’s been right on so many fronts,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told the Washington Post.

But other Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., admit they toe the party line out of fear.

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and…what can happen if you don’t follow along,” Schrader told the paper.

Some argue that President Trump’s defiance of congressional investigators will eventually break the divide between moderate Democrats and its liberal wing.

TRUMP APPEARS TO HAVE INADVERTENTLY INFUSED DEMOCRATIC INVESTIGATIONS AFTER ABC INTERVIEW

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., described Pelosi’s hold over Democrats as “fragile” because “we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing.”

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The Democrats’ pro-impeachment camp howled this week after Trump said in an interview with ABC that he’d be willing to listen if a foreign government had dirt on an opponent. Yet despite the familiar refrain of impeachment, Pelosi didn’t budge an inch on impeachment after Trump’s comments.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

President Trump was apparently so perturbed by his chief of staff coughing during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office last week, that he asked his staffer to leave the room, according to a transcript from the station.

Trump had been asked a question about his tax returns when someone off camera – identified as Mulvaney – reportedly begins coughing.

“I hope they get it, because it’s a fantastic financial statement,” Trump said Stephanopoulos amid apparent coughing before saying: “And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.”

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“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump reportedly said of Mulvaney’s coughing. “If you’re going to couch, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.”

“Your chief of staff,” Stephanopoulos reportedly clarified.

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The interview, which was broadcast Sunday, proceeded with Trump saying although he wanted people to see his “phenomenal” financial statement, it’s “not up to me, it’s up to my lawyers.”

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Buttigieg says he won’t be first gay president, ‘almost certain’ we’ve had others

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Buttigieg says he won't be first gay president, 'almost certain' we've had others

Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn’t believe he’ll be the first gay president if elected in 2020.

“I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones,” he told “Axios on HBO.”

“I mean, statistically, it’s almost certain.”

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.
(AP)

Asked if he possibly knew which commander-in-chief was playing for the other team, the Democratic hopeful said: “My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that’s the case.”

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Buttigieg — who is mayor of South Bend, Ind. — has been rising in the polls as of late. He would be the first openly gay presidential candidate, if nominated next next year.

The 37-year-old has been asked in the past about the possibility of there ever being a gay president, with BuzzFeed posing the question back in March.

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“My gaydar is not great to begin with and definitely doesn’t work over long stretches of time,” he repeated. “I think we’ll just have to let the historians figure that out.”

To read more from The New York Post, click here

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