NY Rep.: If it's proven Trump directed Cohen payments, would be 'impeachable offenses'
Sophie Tatum, CNN - If accusations that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush payments to women who had alleged affairs with Trump prove to be true, Rep. Jerry Nadler said those actions would be impeachable offenses.
"They would be impeachable offenses. Whether they're important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question," Nadler, D-New York, said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning. "Certainly, they're impeachable offenses, because, even though they were committed before the President became President, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office."
In a sentencing memo on Friday, prosecutors from the Manhattan US attorney's office wrote, "In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1." Individual-1 is the term prosecutors have been using to refer to the President.
Trump has denied the affairs and has not been accused of any crimes related to the payments.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, making false statements to a bank, and campaign-finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including hush payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate.
Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, noted Sunday that although Trump's alleged direction of the hush payments might be an impeachable offense, that would not necessarily mean they would proceed with impeachment proceedings.
"You don't necessarily launch an impeachment against the President because he committed an impeachable offense," Nadler said. "There are several things you have to look at."
He continued: "One, were impeachable offenses committed, how many, et cetera. Secondly, how important were they? Do they rise to the gravity where you should undertake an impeachment? An impeachment is an attempt to effect or overturn the result of the last election and should do it only for very serious situations. That's the question."