Nadler calls White House's impeachment rebuttal "errant nonsense"

Nadler: White House rebuttal to impeachment “errant nonsense”
Nadler: White House rebuttal to impeachment ... 07:22

Washington — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, one of seven impeachment managers who will present the chamber's case against President Trump in the Senate trial, called a response to the two articles of impeachment from the president's legal team "errant nonsense."

The articles, passed by the House last month, charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and on Saturday, the White House released its formal response to the trial summons issued by the Senate last week.

The White House argued the articles "fail to allege any crime or violation of law" and that the president asserted legitimate "executive branch confidentiality interests" that cannot constitute obstruction of Congress.

"Both of those statements are errant nonsense," Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said on "Face the Nation" in response to the president's rebuttal. "There is ample evidence, overwhelming evidence. Any jury would convict in three minutes flat that the president betrayed his country by breaking the law."

While Mr. Trump's legal team argues he broke no laws in his dealings with Ukraine, the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency within the legislative branch, said last week the White House Office of Management and Budget violated federal law when it withheld crucial military aid to Ukraine.

Democrats say the president used the assistance as leverage to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation targeting a company that employed former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. 

"The reason he did that was in order to extort a foreign government to smear his political opponent for his personal benefit and to help try to rig the 2020 election as he worked with the Russians to try to rig the 2016 election. Same pattern," Nadler said. "There's no question that working with a foreign power, trying to extort a foreign power to interfere in our election, is about as bad as you can imagine."

Nadler added that the House has impeachment power under the Constitution, which includes the authority to demand documents from the executive branch, and accused the president of engaging "in a concerted attempt to deny all evidence."

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell is set to offer his organizing resolution designating the rules for Mr. Trump's impeachment trial Tuesday. After the impeachment managers and Mr. Trump's legal team lay out their cases for and against the president, senators are expected to vote on whether additional witnesses should be called.

Among the witnesses some want to testify are John Bolton, the former national security adviser, and Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

But Nadler suggested the younger Biden's testimony would add little to the allegations against Mr. Trump and accused Republicans of trying to "smear" him.

"Hunter Biden has no knowledge of the accusations against the president. Did the president, as we said, as the evidence shows that he did, betray his country by conspiring with a foreign country to try to rig the election? Hunter Biden has nothing to say about that," he said.