A 21-year-old video of Rep. Jerry Nadler arguing that impeachment should only proceed when both political parties are in agreement resurfaced this week, amid impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
“There must never be an impeachment 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,” Nadler said on Dec. 10, 1998 while arguing against the articles of impeachment that had been drafted against President Bill Clinton.
Nadler, in his role as House Judiciary Committee Chairman, was key to moving the ball forward on Trump’s impeachment.
The New York Democrat’s present-day stance on impeaching the president appears to contradict his 1998 remarks, as Republicans have fiercely opposed the process, at-times referring to it as a “sham.”
“I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat,” Nadler told NBC News in early December.
In an interview with CNN also in early December, Nadler dodged a question on whether he was “willing to impeach the President with no Republican votes.”
“We’re going to impeach the President — if we impeach the President — we will impeach him on adequate, urgent grounds to defend our democratic republic,” told CNN political correspondent Dana Bash.
Members of the Democratic-controlled House, divided almost entirely along party lines, voted on Wednesday to impeach Trump on charges that he had abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. The Senate, controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, is likely to acquit him in a trial next month.
Wednesday’s vote made Trump the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House, on charges that his administration improperly pressured officials in Ukraine to announce investigations of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden that would benefit Trump politically as he seeks re-election in 2020.
The tumultuous journey to Trump’s impeachment has riven Americans for months. Slightly less than half of Americans supported impeaching Trump, the first step in removing him from office. A roughly equal number opposed it, according to polling by Reuters/Ipsos on Monday and Tuesday.