Nadler Gives Trump Deadline for 'Russia Collusion' Impeachment Inquiry
Democratic House Judiciary Committee chairman claims Trump sought Russian interference
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has set a deadline for President Donald Trump to declare whether his attorneys will take part in upcoming impeachment hearings, which the House Judiciary Committee chairman says includes allegations of "Russia collusion."
Nadler reportedly issued the same December 6 deadline to President Trump’s attorneys and House Republicans to introduce new evidence or call new witnesses.
"The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, which is due to begin weighing possible articles of impeachment against Trump next week, sent a two-page letter to the president setting a deadline of 5 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) on Dec. 6 for the president’s counsel to specify intended actions under the committee’s impeachment procedures," Reuters reported late Friday.
Nadler informed both the president and the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, of the Friday deadline.
New York Democrat Nadler says he would allow Republicans to participate in the upcoming hearings by issuing subpoenas, calling witnesses, and giving presentations in accordance with the guidelines he provided.
Nadler must first approve of any Republican subpoena requests, according to those guidelines.
Nadler’s letter quotes the forthcoming report from the House Intelligence Committee, which will be written entirely by Democrats and which will recommend drafting articles of impeachment against the president, according to Breitbart.
The report will state that there was “a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest”; and that the president conducted “an unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony.”
The word “again” suggests that the House Intelligence Committee will not limit its report to allegations that Trump invited Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, but will also state that Trump sought Russian interference in the 2016 election — even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller found there to be no evidence of such collusion.
Nadler added that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice, relating to actions described by Mueller in the second volume of his report, though Mueller did not recommend prosecution and Attorney General William Barr rejected obstruction charges against Trump on the merits.
The White House cooperated fully with Mueller and never exerted executive privilege over any witnesses or documents. It has resisted participating in the House “impeachment inquiry,” which it regards as illegitimate.
Nadler has invited the president and his counsel to call and question witnesses, in accordance with the House resolution authorizing the impeachment inquiry last month — though the president was not allowed to do so in the Intelligence Committee inquiry.
However, Nadler and the Democratic majority on the committee can overrule requests for witnesses.
In addition, the House Rules Committee warned last month that Nadler would be allowed to limit the president’s ability to call witnesses if he does not provide witnesses and documents the committee wants.
Republicans criticized Nadler’s letter. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who participated in the earlier round of closed-door hearings, said that Nadler’s letter proved that the president had previously been denied due process rights:
What this letter tacitly admits is that House Democrats basically ran an impeachment process for 2 months before giving the President any real rights.— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 29, 2019
This process is neither fair nor serious. https://t.co/1X9M3VvxZT
Nadler’s letter “tacitly admits is that House Democrats basically ran an impeachment process for 2 months before giving the President any real rights,” Meadows tweeted, concluding: “This process is neither fair nor serious.”
The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first impeachment inquiry hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to discuss the constitutional and legal framework for impeachment.
Trump and his lawyers have been invited to participate in that inquiry as well, and have been given a deadline of Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6:00 p.m. ET to respond to the committee.