Appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday, Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who has launched a huge investigation targeting President Trump, blustered, “Our job is to protect the rule of law in this country.”
Nadler’s lofty claim of protecting the rule of law is ironic, since this is the same man who in 1998 zealously protected former President Bill Clinton after he was found lying regarding his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Nadler stated that the attempt to impeach Clinton was “clearly a partisan railroad job.” He asserted:
Perjury is a serious crime and if provable should be prosecuted in a court of law. But it may or may not involve the president’s duties and performance in office. Perjury on a private matter, perjury regarding sex, is not a great and dangerous offense against the nation. It is not an abuse of uniquely presidential power. It does not threaten our form of government. It is not an impeachable offense.
The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters. We must not overturn an election and remove a president from office except to defend our system of government or our constitutional liberties against a dire threat. And we must not do so without an overwhelming consensus of the American people. There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment, when impeachment is supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by the other. Such an impeachment will produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.
The American people have heard the allegations against the president and they overwhelmingly oppose impeaching him. They elected President Clinton. They still support him. We have no right to overturn the considered judgment of the American people. . . . [T]his is clearly a partisan railroad job. . . . This partisan coup d’etat will go down in infamy in the history of this nation.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) who was a Congressional representative at the time, differed, saying, “… the president lied in January to injure Paula Jones. He lied to the federal grand jury to injure the federal court system in this case. And I think the facts are overwhelming that he gave false, misleading and perjurious testimony to the Congress as part of our inquiry … the day that William Jefferson Clinton failed to provide truthful testimony to the Congress of the United States is the day that he chose to determine the course of impeachment. He usurped our power. He abused his authority. He gave false information.”
California Congressman James Rogan, who was also a judge, said bluntly, “And now in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to insulate this president from any constitutional accountability for his conduct, his defenders are forced to trivialize felony perjury … Listen to the words of the United States Supreme Court on the subject of perjury: ‘In this constitutional process of securing a witness’s testimony, perjury simply has no place whatsoever. Perjured testimony is an obvious and flagrant affront to the basic concepts of judicial proceedings. Congress has made the giving of false answers a criminal act, punishable by severe penalties. In no other way can criminal conduct be flushed into the open where the law can deal with it.”
On Tuesday, after Nadler stated to Maddow that the Judiciary Committee had sent requests to 81 people but limited the requests to material that they already submitted to other agencies, including the Special Prosecutor and the Southern District of New York, Maddow replied, “But it also means that you won’t necessarily be getting anything new that other law enforcement or investigative agencies haven’t seen.”
That gave Nadler the opportunity to pronounce that his efforts were to “protect the rule of law in this country.” He pontificated:
Well, not initially, but remember, our job is very different from other law enforcement agencies. The Special Prosecutor has a specific mandate to investigate only the Russian interference in the election and possible collusion by the Trump Administration or anybody else with that interference with the election, and only to look at crimes. The Southern District of New York also only looks at crimes. We have to look at a much broader question. Our job is to protect the rule of law in this country.