Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, incoming House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who would be in charge of any impeachment hearings, made clear that if the allegations in the Michael Cohen sentencing memo are true, “They would be impeachable offenses.”
On Friday, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and the the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed papers with explosive allegations that Cohen, then-candidate Donald Trump, and others in his campaign were attempting to develop Trump Tower Moscow, all while the Russians were interfering with the American election. New York prosecutors also alleged that Cohen, at Trump’s direction, orchestrated hush money payments to Trump’s former mistresses to prevent them from telling their stories in the media ahead of the election.
CNN’s Jake Tapper: “If it is proven that the President directed or coordinated with Cohen to commit these felonies … are those impeachable offenses?”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 9, 2018
Nadler said that these filings show that Trump “was at the center of a massive fraud, several massive frauds against the American people.”
Tapper then asked, “If it is proven that the President directed or coordinated with Cohen to commit these felonies … are those impeachable offenses?”
Nadler replied: “But certainly, they would be impeachable offenses, because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office.”
But, Nadler hedged slightly on impeachment, saying that just because a president commits an impeachable offense, it doesn’t always justify impeachment. “There are several things you have to look at. One, were there impeachable offenses committed? How many, etc.? And secondly, how important were they? Do they rise to the gravity where you should undertake an impeachment?”
Nadler also made sure to point out that, “There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the president from being indicted,” but noted that even if they cannot indict Trump while he is in office, he could be indicted after he leaves the White House.
In summing up the allegations, Nadler concluded, “[Trump] surrounded himself with crooks… The president created his own swamp and brought it to the White House.”