(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says he believes President Trump obstructed justice, yet “impeachment is a long way down the road,” because first Nadler has to convince enough Trump voters that impeachment “ought to happen,” and that Democrats are not “just trying to steal” the last election.
“This investigation goes far beyond collusion,” Nadler said. “We have seen all the democratic norms that we depend on for democratic government attacked by the administration.
“We’ve seen attacks on the the freedom of the press, the press called the enemy of the people; we’ve seen attacks onmthe Department of Justice, attacks on the FBI; attacks on judges. All of these are very corrosive to liberty and the proper functioning of government and to our constitutional system. All of this has to be looked at, and the facts laid out for the American people.”
“Do you think the president obstructed justice?” Stephanopoulos asked Nadler.
“Yes, I do,” the Judiciary chairman said. “It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice. It’s very clear. Eleven hundred times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt. He tried to — he fired — he trade to protect Flynn from being investigated by the FBI. He fired Comey in order to stop the Russian thing as he told NBC news. He — he has dangled part — he’s intimidated witnesses in public.
“If that’s the case,” Stephanopoulos said, “then is the decision not to pursue impeachment right now simply political? If you believe he obstructed justice?”
“No,” Nadler said. “We have to — we have to — we have to do the investigations and get all this. We do not now have the evidence all sorted out and everything to do an impeachment.
“Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen. You have to persuade enough of the opposition party voters or the Trump voters that you are not just trying to … that you’re not just trying to steal the last ele — to reverse the results of the last election,” he corrected himself. “We may not get there, but what we have to do is protect the rule of law.”
As part of his effort to convince Trump voters that Trump ought to be impeached — and that Democrats are not just trying to overturn the election results — Nadler said he will call dozens of witnesses before his committee:
“Tomorrow we will be issuing document requests to over 60 different people and individuals from the White House, to the Department of Justice, Donald Trump Jr., Alan Weisselberg to begin investigations to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.”
The witnesses may also include former Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, Nadler agreed.
Nadler said last week’s testimony from Michael Cohen “directly implicated the president in various crimes, both while seeking the office of president and while in the White House.”
He said campaign finance violations are the “major” crime. Yet — “Impeachment is a long way down the road,” Nadler said. “We don’t have the facts yet, but we’re going to initiate proper investigations.”
Following Nadler on “This Week,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, “I think Congressman Nadler decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election.”
“Listen to exactly what he said. He talks about impeachment before he even became chairman, and then he says, you’ve got to persuade people to get there. There’s nothing that the president did wrong,” McCarthy insisted. “Show me where the president did anything to be impeached.”
McCarthy said now that the “collusion” investigation seems to be unravelling, Democrats are “setting a whole new course” to find something they can use to impeach Trump.
President Trump tweeted over the weekend: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start – And only because I won the Election! Despite this, great success!”