WASHINGTON – The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said Sunday that if the impeachment case against President Donald Trump were put to a jury, there “would be a guilty verdict in three minutes flat.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler, whose panel will begin drawing up articles of impeachment this week, told CNN that the evidence that Trump put personal interests above those of his country in dealing with Ukraine was “rock solid.”
He did not rule out the possibility of a House vote on impeaching Trump by the end of the week.
That would put it on a fast track to a trial before the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump is expected to prevail.
Nadler’s committee will meet Monday to begin weighing evidence compiled by the House Intelligence Committee on whether Trump linked military aid and a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to a request that Kyiv investigate a potential 2020 rival, Democrat Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter.
Nadler would not speculate on what might be included in the articles of impeachment.
But he described the central allegation as being that Trump “sought foreign interference in our elections several times, both for 2016 and 2020, and that he sought to cover it up” thus posing “a real and present danger to the integrity of the election” coming in November.
Nadler would not say whether the evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, favoring Trump, would be included in the formal charges against him.
Most Republicans have stuck with Trump, saying there is no clear and direct evidence that he wrongly pressured Ukraine for personal political gain.
Rep. Mark Meadows, a strong Trump supporter, said on CNN that Trump was legitimately concerned about corruption in Ukraine and had done nothing inappropriate in a much-examined phone call with Zelenskiy.
Not only did Meadows say he doubted any House Republican would vote to impeach, he said, “I think there is more pressure on the Democrats to come along and vote to exonerate the president.”
Nadler, asked whether he felt confident that Trump personally directed improper approaches to Ukraine, replied, “Yes.”
“We have a very rock solid case. I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in three minutes flat.”
The White House on Friday blasted the impeachment inquiry as “completely baseless,” signaling it would not seek to defend the president in the hearings to draw up formal charges against him.
Republicans have demanded that Hunter Biden, as well as the Democratic lawmaker leading the probe, Adam Schiff, and the whistleblower at the origin of the inquiry all testify before the House committee.
Nadler has rejected those requests, saying all three people are “irrelevant” at this point.