Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, distanced himself Friday from newly elected Democrats' enthusiasm to impeach President Donald Trump.
During a CNN interview on Friday morning, Nadler responded in particular to Rep. Rashida Tliab's (D., Mich.) vow made to a cheering crowd that House Democrats will "impeach the motherfucker" at a rally on Thursday night.
"I don't really like that kind of language. More to the point, I disagree with what she said. It is too early to talk about that intelligently. We have to follow the facts; we have to get the facts," he said. "That's why it is important to protect the Mueller investigation and important to do our own inquiry. We have to get the facts. We will see where the facts lead. Maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't. It is much too early."
Nadler said that impeachment cannot be a partisan decision; it must come after investigators have presented evidence of "terrible deeds."
"You have to believe you have such facts and such evidence of such facts that you can show that enough people will be persuaded so you don't divide the country," he said.
Nadler cautioned Democrats not to jump at impeachment unless special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation turns up sufficient evidence.
"We're far from finishing the inquiry, and we have to see what the Mueller report says," he said. "That has to come to the Judiciary Committee so that we can relay to the American people and look into it, and do our own investigations. There is a lot of smoke. How much fire there is needs to be determined."
Nadler has previously indicated Democrats should wait for Mueller's report to determine whether impeachment is warranted, saying in November, "We're far from [impeachment] right now." He said in December, however, that hush payments Trump made to women who claimed to have had an affair with him may rise to "impeachable offenses."