Nadler: We Are Now in a Constitutional Crisis
Jarrold Nadler, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was asked by Don Lemon of CNN on Wednesday what would be the specific remedy to a constitutional crisis?
“Well, we don’t know exactly what the remedy to a constitutional crisis is. Other than the application of law. We have — we are faced with a lawless administration that is ignoring subpoenas and it’s not just our subpoena for the Mueller report or for the underlying evidence in the Mueller report, the president came out and said that the administration should ignore all subpoenas from Congress,” said Nadler.
Nadler continued to defend the Congress role in in holding the administration accountable. “They are breaking the law as when the law says that upon request anybody’s tax returns must be given to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and they simply defy that”
“Trump is breaking the laws six ways from Sunday,” continued Nadler. “They’re denying the American people the information needed to hold them accountable and that is the constitutional crisis.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH CNN’ DON LEMON
LEMON: The House Judiciary committee voting late this afternoon to hold the Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and the evidence Mueller collected.
Well, that vote coming after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the report and the evidence. So, he did so at Barr’s request.
Joining me now, Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, he’s a chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman, I appreciate you joining us. I know it’s a very busy time for you.
Let me ask you this, you say that we’re now in a constitutional crisis. Then what is the specific remedy to a constitutional crisis?
NADLER: Well, we don’t know exactly what the remedy to a constitutional crisis is. Other than the application of law. We have — we are faced with a lawless administration that is ignoring subpoenas and it’s not just our subpoena for the Mueller report or for the underlying evidence in the Mueller report, the president came out and said that the administration should ignore all subpoenas from Congress.
So, they are trying to say that Congress doesn’t have a role in holding the administration accountable. They are breaking the law as when the law says that upon request anybody’s tax returns must be given to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and they simply defy that.
They tell — the president tells the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security don’t worry about whether it’s lawful or not just shut the border, I’ll take care of it if you break the law.
So, breaking the laws six ways from Sunday. They’re denying the American people the information needed to hold them accountable and that is the constitutional crisis.
LEMON: So why then — I asked you, you know, what is the remedy, why is that remedy not impeachment?
NADLER: Well, it may come to that. If the president keeps up this conduct. But we’ll see. We will first seek to enforce our subpoenas in court to get the information necessary for the American people.
And by the way, one of the things that’s really a predicate for impeachment is that you have to have the support of the American people, and to do that the American people have to have the facts to make a judgment, and they’re hiding the facts.
So, our first job is to get out the facts. The American people should know what’s going on, what they’ve done, what crimes, if any, have been committed and what the story is.
LEMON: Yes. I want to ask you about the Attorney General, William Barr because your committee held him in contempt. What does it really mean? Because you’re not going to apprehend the attorney general, I don’t think, or fine him, are you? So, what’s your next move?
NADLER: Well, the attorney — the attorney general first has shown himself to be the personal attorney — he first showed himself to be the personal attorney of the president rather than the attorney general of the United States when he misled the country twice about the contents of the Mueller report and when he’s now just seeking to keep all information away from Congress.
Now, we will enforce the contempt citation in a civil contempt proceeding in which he can be fined. He’s not going to go to jail but he can be fined severely by the court at the court’s discretion in a civil contempt proceeding after the House votes the contempt that we recommended today.
LEMON: So, listen, this is all about getting that unredacted — the full unredacted Mueller report.
[22:19:59] Tell our viewers why you’re not taking — why you are taking — you are taking a stand on this when you can go — you can go to the Justice Department you can look at a less redacted report, which only omits the grand jury material.
NADLER: Well, what they have said, they made an offer that I and the ranking minority member of the committee could go and look at a less redacted report provided that we told nobody what we saw and if we left our notes there, I couldn’t tell any other member of the committee, Congress acts by committees and by majorities.
So, what good is that information if I can’t tell anybody about it? We counter offered and we said, fine, let the members of the intelligence and judiciary committees see the underlying material and the unredacted report and when we made that offer, they broke off negotiations and we had to go through with the contempt.