Nadler: Judiciary too busy impeaching Trump to focus on Kavanaugh claims

"We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while," Nadler said.
Image: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler speaks to reporters on Sep. 12, 2019.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler speaks to reporters on Sep. 12, 2019.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

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By Alex Moe and Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., responded to calls for an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in light of new sexual misconduct allegations by saying that the panel has "our hands full with impeaching the president."

In a radio interview with WNYC on Monday, Nadler was asked if he’d be concerned with Democrats thinking he’s not taking the Kavanaugh allegations seriously enough. He said his committee has too much on its plate.

"We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while," Nadler said.

Asked about whether he plans to keep his promise from last October of investigating Kavanaugh over his Senate confirmation hearing, Nadler was candid about his position on impeaching the president.

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"Frankly, we are concentrating our resources on determining whether to impeach the president. Personally I think the President ought to be impeached but we have to concentrate on that for the next few months," he said.

Over the weekend, a pair of New York Times reporters in an opinion-section article previewing their upcoming book on Kavanaugh's confirmation said they found new corroboration for accusations that Kavanaugh exposed himself to Deborah Ramirez, a classmate at Yale. NBC News has not verified that reporting.

The reporters said that former Yale classmate Max Stier told senators and the FBI about a different episode of alleged sexual misconduct. Two people with first-hand knowledge confirm to NBC News that the FBI was notified of Stier's claim.

The chairman said that his committee plans to question FBI Director Christopher Wray next month including about the agency’s investigation into Kavanaugh.

Nadler continued by saying he personally believes impeaching the president is "imperative" so that Democrats can "vindicate the Constitution," acknowledging that its purpose would not be removing Trump from office because the GOP-controlled Senate wouldn’t do that.

Nadler said that while he feels there is already enough information to impeach the President, he believes the Committee needs to educate the public to get behind impeachment before moving forward.

"We have to show that there are adequate grounds for impeachment, that there are imperative grounds for impeachment and convince people. If that happens, if people are convinced after the hearings that the president should be impeached then we will be able to get the votes, if that doesn’t happen, we won’t be able to get the votes," Nadler said.

The Judiciary Committee approved a resolution last Thursday that set procedures and rules for future impeachment investigation hearings. The first such hearing will be held on Tuesday afternoon with Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as the first witness.

Some top Democrats, including Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for Kavanaugh to be impeached in light of the new allegations against him.

Kavanaugh was sworn in to the high court last October after senators investigated sexual assault and misconduct allegations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford and other women during his Senate confirmation process. He has denied the allegations made against him.

Haley Talbot contributed.