Always beware of who is within earshot when sensitive information is shared. That’s a lesson all mothers should teach their daughters, and it is also a lesson that veteran lawmakers should know and practice if they don’t want their plans broadcast to the world.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New Jersey might well be kicking himself at this point due to his loose lips on a train bound from Washington to New York. He was on his way to the Big Apple for planning meetings, but started talking to Capitol Hill newbies, and had a few phone conversations about how the Democrats plan to bring down President Donald Trump:
In post-election chats with various callers while riding the Acela train from New York to Washington, Nadler gave advice to a newly elected representative and discussed potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees with another. He also lamented identity politics and the thriving economy and worried about Democrats losing working-class voters while gaining elite former Republicans and suburban women….
[Nadler and a friend] discussed two routes for investigating new Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. The first is to go after the FBI for how they handled the investigation into unsubstantiated claims he sexually assaulted women. “They didn’t even do a half-ass job,” he said. “They didn’t interview 30 witnesses who said ‘Interview me! I’ve got a lot to say!’” he said, while mimicking people waving their hands to be called on.
His other plan is to go after Kavanaugh because “there’s a real indication that Kavanaugh committed perjury.” He claimed that The Atlantic published an article about the allegations of a third woman. Then he claimed that when Kavanaugh was “asked at a committee hearing under oath when he first heard of the subject, he said, ‘When I’d heard of the Atlantic article.’ But there is an email chain apparently dating from well before that from him about ‘How can we deal with this?’” Nadler told the caller….
When the caller objected to the plan, Nadler pushed back, “That’s not technical, that’s real.” He conceded that maybe it was not a great plan, since even if Kavanaugh could be removed, it might not result in the political results desired.
“The worst-case scenario — or best case depending on your point of view — you prove he committed perjury, about a terrible subject and the Judicial Conference recommends you impeach him. So the president appoints someone just as bad.”
When the caller suggested going after Kavanaugh quietly, Nadler explained, “You can’t do it quietly because word will get out that the FBI or the committee is reaching out to witnesses.”
Nadler then discussed the realities of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, the Russia investigation and more.
Nadler said Russia investigations would be under a broad umbrella of holding Trump “accountable,” since it’s a more palatable argument than impeachment, that they would be going “all-in,” and much of what they get to would be “depending on what [special counsel Robert] Mueller finds.” Still, he said the Judiciary Committee would only be in a supportive role to Rep. Adam Schiff and the Intelligence Committee, which has “a way ahead start on that.” Still, he said Judiciary “will have a role” in the Russia investigations.
Nadler and his callers discussed 2020 presidential prospects, noting that Joe Biden would be hurt by the efforts to go after Kavanaugh since it would bring his role in the Clarence Thomas hearings back to prominence. “The only relevance of Clarence Thomas hearings is it will come back to hit Joe Biden over head if he runs for president,” Nadler said. Uproarious laughter from the caller could be heard on the other end of the phone. Other candidates were dismissed for being “too conservative” or “too conservative on economic issues for the party” or “not charismatic.”
The Democrats are not giving up their hopes of finding a way to get President Trump out of office by any means necessary. And Nadler is not even being circumspect about the plans, but discussing them openly on a train car where the passengers are a captive audience for hours.
Either there really is confidence that the Democrats are going to be successful and the people involved are stupid enough to let the enemy know their plans or distractions are being laid for other shenanigans.
More on Nadler’s train conversations here.