Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans lose control this November, said Friday he plans to open a formal investigation into allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh if Democrats take the chamber.
“It is not something we are eager to do,” Nadler said in an interview published Friday evening. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”
Nadler said there is evidence of a "whitewash" by Senate Republicans of an FBI investigation into several women's claims that Kavanaugh sexually harassed and assaulted them during their high school and college years more than three decades ago.
“We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash,” he added.
Nadler did not threaten to impeach Kavanaugh, who is expected to be confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate Saturday as a result of the upper chamber's 51-49 cloture vote earlier Friday. However, the House Judiciary Committee would be the body that initiates any impeachment action against Kavanaugh.
With the ability to subpoena cooperation for a probe into Kavanaugh's teenage and college years, Democrats would have the ability to glean more information from the White House and FBI regarding what both parties said during the recent weeklong look into allegations by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Among the officials he hopes to hear from is FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Nadler also wants to interview all of Kavanaugh's accusers and people who can speak on their behalf. He would like to speak with Kavanaugh himself, but expects that would be difficult if he is already a member of the country's highest court.
Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached and that was more than two centuries ago in 1804, making a modern-day incident unprecedented.
Political experts have predicted Republicans hold onto the Senate, which would make it nearly impossible for Congress to remove Kavanaugh from office even if such a proposal passes the House because it would require two-thirds of the Senate to also vote in support of the measure.