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Jerry Nadler was absolutely correct about impeachment in 1998

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As Judiciary Committee Chair, Jerry Nadler will be responsible for pushing forward articles of impeachment against President Trump. We know he has a very clear understanding of how impeachment works and the criteria that must be met for it to be valid. We know this because in 1998, he made very clear that impeachment requires a consensus of the people and must never be made political in which one party exercises the grave duty against the will of the minority party.

Normally, I like to pull pieces of quotes from people and break them down. But Nadler’s words in 1998 stand alone. He made a lucid, Constitution-backed case for avoiding impeachment unless it is an overwhelming mandate from the people and supported by both sides of the political aisle. Today, there is no mandate from the people and Democrats are the only ones supporting it on Capitol Hill.

“The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters as expressed in a national election,” he said in his opening statement ahead of an impeachment vote against President Clinton. “We must not overturn an election and remove a president from office except to defend our very 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 and of their representatives in congress of the absolute necessity.”

Where to begin. Are “our very system of government or our constitutional liberties” facing dire threat from President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky? No. Is there an “overwhelming consensus of the American people and of their representatives in Congress” to impeach? Not even close.

He continued, “There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come. And will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.”

By Jerry Nadler’s own criteria, the impeachment inquiry against President Trump lacks legitimacy and will produces divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come. He was right in 1998 and his words still apply today.

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