With a House Judiciary Committee vote expected this week on whether to create an impeachment inquiry, Rep. Nadler would have to decide whether to hold his own hearing in the House or allow it to proceed in a House-Senate investigation known as a referral.
Nadler’s office declined to discuss what he would do.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, said he would consult lawyers before deciding what course to take. He has the right to call the House back into session to consider an impeachment inquiry by the Judiciary Committee. It can take weeks or months to do so. The full House is not in session this week.
Republicans have resisted holding impeachment inquiries, arguing that they are unconstitutional steps taken by an unelected committee and amount to political gamesmanship.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said he would not attempt to impeach President Donald Trump. “I haven’t thought about what I would do if I were the chairman,” he said. “The impeachment process has always been much more reflective of impeaching the president than the law itself.”
If the House approves an impeachment inquiry, Nadler and Green would have 45 days to bring it before the full House. If the Democrats win a majority in the House, he could try to issue a referral to the full House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has not said if she would appoint a committee or allow one to proceed, could choose to intervene.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., answers questions during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. Pelosi, who said she believes President Donald Trump was elected legally, told ABC News that the House should not pursue impeachment hearings against the president. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he did not believe it was appropriate for an investigation without subpoena power to “make pronouncements about what the value is of what is in the Constitution.”
Collins said he was supportive of the use of subpoenas as a way to hold the president accountable. “When I get asked that question, I just want to hear what you think the appropriate rules of engagement are,” he said.
In the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., would be the ranking Democrat on an impeachment inquiry. He said he would support an inquiry and plans to bring a resolution to the House floor in January.
“Everybody gets tired of throwing mud,” he said, referring to the heated rhetoric directed at the president. “Let’s get on with business, on policy, on solution-based energy.”
On Tuesday, Cohen introduced a bill aimed at eliminating the pardon power of the president, a power he said Trump frequently exercised to cut off a scandal involving his associates. Cohen said he could see a scenario where lawmakers chose to impeach Trump and seek his removal from office.
“Why take the risk?” he said. “You take the chance in your home district — if you go down in history as the congressman who impeached the president and got him removed. But we can also use the mechanism that’s in place now.”
Cohen said he would not try to revive his former bill that would have granted impeachable offenses to the president and that would let members of Congress try to oust him from office. “I’m no longer going to do that,” he said.
But the House could still vote to investigate the president’s finances. Democrats control the House Budget Committee, and Nadler and Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., a former prosecutor, plan to call for hearings on the president’s investments and possible conflicts of interest.
Nadler has said he would press forward on his own in any case in an impeachment inquiry, where he would likely hold House Judiciary Committee hearings on the president’s role in a business organization created to raise private funds to help carry out his promises during the 2016 campaign to build a wall on the border with Mexico.