CNN's Wolf Blitzer grilled House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on his reluctance to start the impeachment process against President Donald Trump. In an interview on Wednesday, Blitzer asked Nadler why not open a formal impeachment inquiry to get "better access" to documents and witnesses to make a "better case."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Joining us now, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York. Mr. Chairman thanks so much for joining us.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Thank you. Great to be here.
BLITZER: So you heard the Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today, she's not feeling any pressure on the question of starting formal impeachment proceedings. But on your committee alone, as you know, at least 11 Democrats are calling for beginning these kinds of impeachment proceedings. That's nearly half of the Democrats on the judiciary committee. Are you, Mr. Chairman, feeling any pressure from your members to at least open an impeachment inquiry?
NADLER: Well, the question -- let me put it this way, it may come to that, it may very well come to a formal impeachment inquiry, we will see. And remember what an impeachment is. An impeachment -- an impeachment inquiry. An impeachment inquiry is a formal inquiry into whether you can prove that the president has committed sufficient impeachable offenses to warrant his being impeached by a -- by a former vote of the House, who then sends it for trial to the Senate.
We are going to go step by step. First, we're -- we're -- we're investigating all the things we would investigate frankly in an impeachment inquiry. We are starting with the Mueller report, which shows, I think it shows ample evidence of multiple crimes of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. And we will have the testimony about that. We will go into that --
BLITZER: Mr. Chairman, why not open a formal inquiry?
NADLER: As I said, it may come to that.
BLITZER: But why not now? What's the problem if you start it right now and you begin the process -- you're going to go ahead with investigations to begin with?
NADLER: Well, right now, there doesn't appear to be the support for it.
BLITZER: In your committee or in the -- among the Democrats in the whole House?
NADLER: I'm not going to get into that, but there does not appear to be the support for it now. And we will see the support may develop. Right now, we have to get the facts out, we have to educate the American people, because after all, the American people have been lied to consistently by the president, by the attorney general, who have misrepresented what was in the Mueller report.
That's why it's important for us to get Mueller to testify. And remember what -- what Mueller said last week. Mueller said, he characterized the -- the -- the findings of the Mueller report as number one, that the Russians attacked our elections. Number two, that they attacked it for the purpose of helping to elect Donald Trump. Number three, that there were many people that the Trump campaign welcomed -- that interference on their behalf. And number four, that after the campaign was over, the president, President Trump, when he was president, repeatedly obstructed justice, obstructed the investigation and the attack on our-- on our -- on our election. Now those are very serious charges that we have to examine very carefully.
BLITZER: Let me ask you this, Mr. Chairman. If you opened a formal inquiry, wouldn't that give you better access to witnesses, to documents? Wouldn't you have a better case to make in obtaining that kind of information?
NADLER: In certain instances, it would give -- it might give us better cases -- better access, and the lawyers argue about the extent of that.
BLITZER: Are you on the same page with the Speaker Nancy Pelosi when it comes to impeachment?
NADLER: As I said, we are launching an inquiry now and whether we’ll launch an impeachment inquiry, it may come to that. It may come to that.
BLITZER: Well, is there any chance, Mr. Chairman, you would open up an impeachment inquiry without Speaker Pelosi's support?
NADLER: I think that if -- if -- if -- when that decision has to be made, it will be made not by any one individual, it will be made probably by the caucus as a whole. Certainly, Nancy will have the largest single voice in it, various committee chairmen and rank and file members.