Jun 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nadler says Barr "deserves impeachment," but calls it a "waste of time"

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that Attorney General Bill Barr "deserves impeachment" for his alleged politicization of the Justice Department, but described the endeavor as "a waste of time" because Senate Republicans are "corrupt" and will not vote to convict.

Driving the news: Nadler has launched an investigation into the firing on Friday of the powerful U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, who had been investigating President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — among other politically charged cases.

The backdrop: Barr announced Berman's resignation on Friday night and said Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton had been nominated for the position. Berman responded publicly by saying he had "no intention of resigning" and would "step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate."

  • In a letter on Saturday, Barr said he had recommended that Trump fire Berman after the top prosecutor created a "public spectacle" with his refusal to resign. Trump later contradicted Barr, telling reporters he was "not involved" and that it was the attorney general's call to fire Berman.
  • Berman then resigned Saturday after Barr assured him that he would be replaced temporarily with his chief deputy, Audrey Strauss.
  • Nadler has asked Berman to testify before the House Judiciary Committee but said on CNN that it's unlikely he will appear this week.

What they're saying: "I don't think calls for [Barr's] impeachment are premature, any more than calls for the president's impeachment were premature," Nadler said.

  • "But they are a waste of time at this point because we know that we have a corrupt Republican majority in the Senate which will not consider an impeachment no matter what the evidence and no matter what the facts."
  • "So we're instead going to do what we have to do without that, including barring $50 million from his own personal budget."
  • Asked whether he was calling every Senate Republican who voted to acquit Trump "corrupt," Nadler responded: "I think in the sense of being corrupt against the interests of the country, yes."

What to watch: The committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday with two whistleblowers from the Justice Department who are expected to testify about the "unprecedented politicization" of the agency under Barr.

Go deeper: Nadler seeks hearing with Barr after DOJ drops prosecution of Michael Flynn

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