House Dem. Nadler: I ‘Certainly Hope’ to Avoid Trump Impeachment

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, N.Y.) and Judy Chu (D, Calif.) hold a news conference in Washington, D.C., September 14, 2016. (Gary Cameron/Reuteres)

A top House Democrat said Sunday that he sees “a lot of potentials” for impeaching President Trump but hopes it won’t come to that.

“I certainly hope that we will not find the necessity for impeachment, but can’t rule that out,” Representative Jerrold Nadler said on CNN.

“The New York Times reported you pitched yourself to your Democratic colleagues as ‘the strongest member to lead the potential impeachment,'” host Jake Tapper told the New York Democrat.

“No, no, no. The key word is potential, if it comes up,” Nadler responded. “Impeachment is a question that will come up down the road maybe, depending on the findings of the Mueller administration and of other investigations. We’re far from that right now.”

“You don’t want the country torn apart in the sense that half of the country says for the next 30 years, ‘We won the election. You stole it,'” Nadler added. “So one question before you do an impeachment is do you think the evidence of such terrible deeds is so strong that a large portion of the opposition vote base, of the president’s vote base, will be convinced by the end of the process?”

One potentially impeachable offense would be breaches of campaign-finance laws, Nadler said, such as the under-the-table payments made through Trump’s lawyer to women threatening to go public about their alleged affairs with him.

“I see a lot of potentials, but we don’t know. We’re waiting to see what the special counsel finds. Then we’ll have to make judgments,” Nadler said.

Democrats will control the House in the next Congress after winning a majority of seats in last Tuesday’s midterm elections, paving the way to a potential presidential impeachment if enough members supported it. But top Democrats have previously dismissed the notion of impeachment, saying that it is unlikely and probably would not help their agenda. On Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated that Democrats are waiting to see what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe finds before they make any final decision.

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