Rep. Jerry Nadler says hush payments ‘might very well be an impeachable offense’

Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-11 23:37:19-05

New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler said Sunday that if President Donald Trump is found to have violated campaign finance laws with hush payments, it “might very well be an impeachable offense.”

“Well, it may be an impeachable offense if it goes to the question of the President procuring his office through corrupt means,” Nadler, the expected incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “And that could be impeachable.”

“You’d have to see … how good the proof of that is, and secondly, what else there is, because the fact that an impeachable offense is committed, has been committed, does not mean necessarily there ought to be an impeachment.”

Nadler said it “depends on whether the situation is serious enough that it makes sense to do an impeachment to defend the … system of government and the system of democracy.”

Earlier in the interview, he said that Democrats are “far from” impeachment proceedings.

Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the payments that were made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump, the Journal reported Friday.

Trump has repeatedly denied both affairs.

A Democratic committee aide tells CNN that the Oversight Committee will investigate the Cohen payments. The aide said they started investigating this months ago, and the requested information was not provided because they were in the minority. But they expect that to change now that they are in the majority.

CNN previously reported if Democrats took the House they were likely to probe former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s payments to the women as part of a lengthy list of issues, from Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to Trump’s finances.

Maryland Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is expected to lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has also focused on Cohen’s payments and how the Trump Organization accounted for them.

Cummings sent a letter to White House counsel and the Trump Organization in September regarding the President’s failure to accurately report debts and payments to Cohen for paying women alleging extramarital affairs.