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Nov. 13, 2018: Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray notifying them of his expectation, when Democrats take the Majority in the new year, that the Department of Justice and the FBI will have already addressed the backlog of unanswered requests that have been made concerning legitimate oversight matters under the Committee’s jurisdiction. Over the last two years, House Judiciary Committee Democrats have written over one hundred letters to the Administration. Twenty-two of those letters relate to improper communications from the White House to the Department of Justice and the FBI and President Trump’s repeated attacks on federal law enforcement agencies. To date, the Administration has not responded to any of these requests. The letter sent by Ranking Member Nadler notifies acting A.G. Whitaker and Director Wray that the Committee intends to follow-up on these requests, and expects their full cooperation as the Committee sets about conducting regular oversight on matters that have long been ignored.
OnNov. 2, 2017, Rep. Nadler issued this statement about tax reforms proposed by Congressional Republicans:
Republican Tax “Scam” Hits Middle Income New Yorkers While Funneling Billions to the Wealthiest Americans and Corporations
Issues: Jobs, Labor and the Economy
“Today, the Republicans announced a tax plan that would funnel billions of dollars in tax benefits to the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations at the expense of working families. Their plan would hit my constituents in Manhattan and Brooklyn especially hard. It eliminates the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, caps the existing deductions for state and local property taxes and for the mortgage interest deduction at amounts too limited for middle income New Yorkers, and ends the student loan and medical expense deductions. And, although it increases the standard deduction, it eliminates personal exemptions, increasing taxes for many low-income people (especially those with large families). At the same time, it would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, eliminate the estate tax, and still blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the deficit.
“Republicans claim that some magical economic growth will follow these massive tax cuts for billionaires, and make up for this lost revenue. But that’s a lie. We have played this game twice before. The same promises were made for the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, but the results were massive deficits. This is the old “Starve the Beast” strategy. First, give huge tax cuts to the rich, and then use the resulting deficits to justify massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, and other social services.
“I will support a tax reform plan that makes billionaires and corporations pay their fair share, eliminates loopholes that encourage companies to move jobs overseas, and invests in working families. The Republican tax scam is not that plan, and I will not support it.”
On May 16, Rep. Nadler appeared on CNN and talked about Trump's having fired James Comey at a time when the FBI, which Comey headed, was conducting the only viable and staffed investigation into the Trump administration's ties with Russia. Nadler said, in part:
One week ago, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a terrifying signal of this Administration’s continued abuse of power, systematically attacking all of the institutions—the media, the Judiciary, and now law enforcement—that are meant to put a check on the power of the presidency. Firing Mr. Comey, who was leading the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, raises grave concerns that the President may have committed an obstruction of justice. This is not an issue that the President will be able to sweep aside, hoping another controversy or a new appointment can distract. The American people will not tolerate an Administration that shows such disregard for the rule of law, and Congress must not tolerate it either. The President and his White House have lost the benefit of the doubt, and we must investigate this matter immediately to protect the integrity of our institutions and save our democracy from the constitutional crisis we now find ourselves.
On May 11, all 17 Democratic members of the House Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), urging the Chairman to conduct immediate hearings into the firing of James Comey. Rep. Nadler was among the signers.
In their letter, the members noted the “decision to abruptly fire Mr. Comey not only undermines the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the recent U.S. elections in possible coordination with the Trump campaign, but also threatens to erode confidence in the Department as a bedrock of independence and integrity within our system of government.” They asked that the hearings include former FBI Director Comey, Attorney General Sessions, and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and that they be held no later than May 25, 2017.
On May 9, Nadler responded with this statement to Trump's firing FBI Director James Comey:
“The firing of FBI Director Comey by President Trump is a terrifying signal of this Administration’s continued abuse of power on so many levels. The FBI Director was fired for one reason and one reason only – he appears to have been conducting a serious investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection with the Russians. Period. It is clear that the reasons given today for the firing of Director Comey are pretext, they are excuses, they are not true, they are lies. All other justifications offered by this Administration are a smokescreen.
“Attorney General Sessions lied about his connections to Russia and was forced to recuse himself from the investigation. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lied to the Vice President about his connections to Russian agents and was fired. Representative Nunes, Chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, concealed evidence from his colleagues after improper communications with the White House. Jared Kushner failed to disclose his meetings with Russian officials on his security clearance forms. Former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort resigned his position amid allegations of connections to Russian officials. Former Trump foreign affairs advisor Carter Page had unexplained contacts with the Russian government. And when former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tried to warn the Administration about these conflicts, she was fired. The Trump Administration fired U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara, who had jurisdiction to investigate these troubling connections. Now, the President fires Director Comey who has been heading an investigation into these matters for months. And to add terrible insult to injury, the ‘justification’ for the firing was handled by the ostensibly recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The message to all federal investigators is crystal clear: if you ask too many questions, if you seek to put these pieces together, if you seek justice, if you seek the truth, you, too, may be fired. And anyone who this President now appoints will have zero credibility to carry out an honest investigation. As such, we are now careening towards a constitutional crisis in our country with the Administration systematically attacking all of the institutions that are meant to put a check on the power of the President.
"A fair, thorough, and comprehensive investigation is necessary to protect democratic government in the United States. The President's firing of Director Comey ranks with Nixon's firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in October 1973. As such, the only path forward is the appointment of a special prosecutor and an independent 911-style investigative panel.”
July 10, 2018: Congressman Jerrold Nadler is opposed to the nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a statement released on July 10, 2018, Nadler explained the reasons for his opposition. Nadler said in part:
"Yesterday, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. With this nomination, President Trump is attempting to fundamentally shift the balance of our highest court, drastically moving it to the right. The addition of Judge Kavanaugh to an already conservative-leaning Court will likely cement extreme legal ideology in this country for the next quarter century, which is why it is so critical that Americans know what is at stake with this nomination.
"During his tenure on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated a disturbing lack of concern for Americans’ fundamental rights, for the impact of the law on the well-being of ordinary people, and for the separation of powers that maintains our democracy. His record depicts an ideological slant that routinely sides with big business, defers to the influence of money and power in our political process, allows authority to be consolidated under the President without accountability, and believes in limiting protections based on age, race, gender, religion, ability, sexual orientation or national origin afforded under the Constitution.
"Such an extreme ideological slant should be of little surprise to those who know Judge Kavanaugh’s record as a partisan lawyer—the consummate Washington insider—who worked for Kenneth Starr and the independent counsel’s office, as well as for President George W. Bush in the White House. On issues ranging from reproductive rights to health and safety to criminal justice to consumer protections, Judge Kavanaugh has routinely shown a restrictive interpretation of the law. From the NRA to oil and gas corporations to religious extremists, Judge Kavanaugh has sided with those working to force their views, beliefs and preferences on others.
"In the coming weeks and months, Judge Kavanaugh will be presented to the Senate and the American people as part of the confirmation process. It is the responsibility of the Senate to uncover Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy during this process, and I trust my Senate Democratic colleagues to do this with great vigor and commitment, knowing what is at stake for the country. Equally, the American people must understand what rights, protections and freedoms are potentially on the line should President Trump’s nominee be confirmed by a majority in the Senate.
A full copy of Ranking Member Nadler's statement on the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court can be found by clicking here.
On May 4, 2017, New York State's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released this statement on the House passage of the American Health Care Act:
“The healthcare bill passed today by House Republicans is a threat to the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. In addition to the devastating impact this bill would have on every New Yorker’s access to affordable healthcare, the legislation that passed the House today is unconstitutional in several critical respects—and I stand ready to challenge it in court.
First, House Republicans’ attempt to effectively deny women access to reproductive healthcare services is a cruel and unconstitutional attack on women’s rights - especially the most vulnerable.
Further, the Collins-Faso Amendment is a cynical ploy by House Republican leadership and President Trump that exceeds Congress’s authority by interfering with how New York has long elected to fund its Medicaid program.
This bill threatens to slash essential healthcare services for millions of New Yorkers who need them the most.
For these reasons, if this disastrous and unconstitutional healthcare bill is ultimately signed into law, I will challenge it in court.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY, 10th Congressional District) became the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee as of January 2019. He was previously the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. He is also the highest-ranking Northeastern member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and serves as an Assistant Democratic Whip. He was first elected to Congress in 1992.
His district includes Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Soho, Wall Street, and Battery Park City, as well as the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Kensington, and parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park and Midwood.
Jan. 22, 2019: On Jan. 22, Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in advance of a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 8. The letter includes a list of prepared questions concerning communications between Whitaker and Trump. In the letter, Nadler makes clear that the Committee expects direct answers to its questions, and "will not accept your declining to answer any question on the theory that the President may want to invoke his privileges in the future."
The prepared questions cover issues related to Trump's appointment of Whitaker to replace Jeff Sessions following his firing, Whitaker's decision not to recuse himself from the Special Counsel investigation, Whitaker's oversight over the Special Counsel investigation and the nature of his relationship with Trump.
Also on Jan. 22, Nadler joined by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement in response to a draft memorandum created by senior officials at the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice outlining the Trump Administration's child separation policy.
The draft memorandum was prepared in December 2017 and was uncovered by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). Nadler, Cummings and Thompson called the document "horrific."
"It is proof that the Trump Administration secretly hatched a plan to separate thousands of vulnerable children from their parents and place them in federal custody in order to deter those seeking refuge in the United States," they said. "This revelation raises grave questions about the veracity of Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen's sworn testimony to Congress and her statements to the American people from the White House denying the existence of this immoral policy.
"Secretary Nielsen must appear before Congress to answer for this cruel and heartless policy and her inaccurate statements to Congress and the American people. We also need to hear from the agencies responsible for formulating and carrying out the child separation policy, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services."
On June 18, 2018, Nielsen had been asked at the White House: "Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? Are you intending to send a message?" She replied: "I find that offensive. ... No. Because why would I ever create a policy that purposely does that?" When the reporter asked if the policy was put in place as a deterrent, Secretary Nielsen again responded: "No."
A day earlier, on June 17, 2018, Secretary Nielsen tweeted: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."
On May 15, 2018, Nielsen stated in sworn testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: "We do not have a policy to separate children from their parents."
Nadler has sent official letters to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services asking for the preservation of any records related to Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policies and also asking that these documents be turned over to Congress.
An article in The New York Times ("Democratic Senator Seeks Perjury Investigation of Kirstjen Nielsen," 1/18/19) states that "The federal government has reported that nearly 3,000 children have been separated from their parents under the zero-tolerance policy put in place by the Department of Homeland Security last year. But the policy could have affected thousands more, according to a report by government inspectors released this week."
Assemblymember Deborah Glick represents the 66th Assembly District in Lower Manhattan.
On June 28, 2018, Nadler (D-NY) led a letter signed by all Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee to President Donald Trump asking questions about the inception for the Administration’s family separation policy, the implementation of the policy, and the level of coordination between relevant agencies. The letter begins:
Dear President Trump,
We have repeatedly expressed our disagreement with your Administration’s decision to separate families at our Southern border. We remain opposed to any policy that separates children from their parents or legal guardians in order to deter future migrant flows. Such a policy is inhumane, cruel, and un-American.
We have concerns not only with the policy itself, but with the chaos and confusion that this Administration displayed in its implementation. For weeks, your Administration refused to concede that a family separation policy was in existence. On June 17th, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted that there was no family separation policy. Yet a mere 3 days later, you signed an Executive Order reversing this supposedly non-existent policy. This disconnect is emblematic of the disarray that surrounded the implementation of the family separation policy.
News from and about elected officials who represent Lower Manhattan, New York City and New York State
(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)