House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that calls from his Democratic colleagues to impeach Attorney General William Barr are a “waste of time” because Senate Republicans would not remove him no matter what.
Barr has come under fire in recent days regarding the firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, whose office was investigating associates of President Donald Trump.
On Friday, the Justice Department announced that Berman was stepping down from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Berman said he was doing no such thing in a statement released later that night. The next day, Barr notified Berman that Trump had fired him.
Nadler announced Saturday that his committee would immediately open an investigation into Berman’s ouster. But he said Sunday that calls for Barr’s impeachment, including from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), were futile.
“I don’t think calls for his impeachment are premature any more than calls for the president’s impeachment were premature,” Nadler said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Nadler added: “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.”
Asked if he was calling all 51 Senate Republicans who voted to acquit Trump during the impeachment trial corrupt, Nadler said yes.
Nadler has suggested Barr was attempting to hamper ongoing investigations into Trump’s conduct by the Southern District of New York.
“We’ve seen a pattern of the president opposing, of Barr corruptly impeding, those investigations,” Nadler said Sunday. “This is just more of the same.”
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with Justice Department whistleblowers on Wednesday. Nadler said Berman was invited to testify but that he isn’t sure yet whether Berman will come before the committee that day.
Nadler said House Democrats are working to withhold $50 million from Barr’s “personal budget” in response to Berman’s removal.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that there’s speculation Berman had been investigating Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Warner did not confirm whether this was true.
“There seems to be a pattern from this administration that the president and his henchman, Mr. Barr, are willing to get rid of anyone that’s investigating people who get close to Donald Trump,” Warner said.