Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., took on his party’s leadership in a new interview, criticizing House Democrats’ decision to have a “small, elite group” of lawmakers pursue an impeachment inquiry just before the 2020 presidential election.
“To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago,” he said during an interview with USA Today. “Everything our country doesn’t stand for.”
The interview, published on Sunday, came as House Democrats ramped up their impeachment inquiry surrounding President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to begin the second round of public hearings in the inquiry, which Trump has described as a “hoax.”
Although Van Drew called Trump’s conduct “unsavory,” he said he didn’t see any evidence that would justify removing the president from office. He also warned that an acquittal could give Trump the ability to claim exoneration during the election cycle.
Van Drew was one of just two House Democrats to oppose the chamber’s November vote on setting rules for the impeachment inquiry.
The New Jersey congressman also commented that his job wasn’t to “like or dislike” the president.
“My job is to exact as much goodwill and help for my district and for this nation and for this world that I possibly can while he’s president,” he said.
During an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Van Drew similarly blasted the inquiry by comparing it to “something you would see in Europe or third-world nations.”
“You know, De Tocqueville in 1853 wrote that if a nation was more and more often using…impeachment as a way of actually removing its leaders, it would show the deterioration of the nation,” he said, referring to historian Alexis De Tocqueville.
Trump previously tweeted out Van Drew’s criticism of the inquiry. which included its expense and effect on national unity.
On Tuesday, the president, who is in London attending leaders’ conference marking NATO’s 70th anniversary, continued attacking House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who has helped spearhead the inquiry.
“I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he’s a very sick man, and he lies,” he said.