It may be easier to say who isn’t in the Trump circle targeted by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, than who is. Casting a broad net, Nadler has brought practically everything and everybody of interest connected to Trump’s empire, including aides, former employees and cabinet members, current associates and his family. In short, if you have any previous relationship to Trump, you are a potential witness.
“Our goal is to hold the administration accountable for the obstruction of justice, the abuse of power and the corruption,” Nadler said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront” Monday, March 4. He said his aim is to protect “the rule of law in this country. We have to find out what is going on, and we have to lay out a case to the American people and we have to reveal it.”
What clearly has been revealed at this point is a plan to hold Trump accountable, a plan that apparently stops short of impeachment.
The man Trump derided as “Fat Jerry” is mounting an investigation that complements the ongoing one led by special counsel Robert Mueller that could make a strong case of Trump’s unfitness for office.
Some 81 people and agencies have received requests for a variety of documents related to Trump and his enterprises. Nadler was careful to note that the planned proceeding “is not a pre-impeachment hearing…if we are going to do anything, we have to have proof.”
Like Mueller, Nadler began his probe by playing down impeachment, thereby not allowing the media or Republicans to concoct counter charges of bias and witch hunting. Impeachment may not be on the agenda, but the 2020 election is certainly affected by the investigations.
There are several differences between Mueller and Nadler’s investigations and the powers they possess, including a grand jury, which Mueller has in his favor.
Besides Nadler’s projections, the GOP is reeling after Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky announced he planned to vote with three other Republicans to upend Trump’s declaration to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico. Looming on the horizon, if the GOP votes to stop Trump’s so-called emergency action, is a veto, and that would be the first by Trump.
And the political climate gets even murkier with the breaking news that Michael Cohen’s lawyer sought to get a Trump pardon for his client. Stay tuned.