Rep. Jerrold Lewis Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of the president, has fought against Donald Trump for decades. What you see unfolding in front of you in Washington, D.C. is just the latest battle in a long personal war.
Nadler was a NY State Assemblyman in 1985 when a young Donald Trump set out to build an ambitious development on the Manhattan's West Side--part of Nadler's district. Nadler opposed the project. He favored an upgrade of the existing structure on the site, a railyard. Nadler issued injunctions that withheld public funds and disallowed vital mortgage insurance.
Trump fought back in the courts, eventually winning the right to proceed. By then, his original vision for the project--a massive village aimed at attracting mass media investment and titled "Television City"--had shifted to the more practical construction of residential towers.
By 2005--twenty years and many legal battles later--three towers had been built on the 77-acre property. Trump sold the parcel in what the New York Times reported as the largest residential real estate deal to date: $1.8 billion. Meanwhile, Nadler had ascended to the House.
By then, he looked like this:
Nadler was unable to climb the stairs in the Capitol, taking the elevator one floor up for votes on the House floor. He elected to have stomach reduction surgery a la Al Roker, and slowly began to lose weight, having his suits taken in several times, as reported in the New York Times. Still, he has suffered some setbacks in his long journey back from obesity, one of which came after Robert Mueller famously found no collusion with Russia after a 2-year, $40 million investigation. Within weeks of the report findings, Nadler fainted during a local press conference.
Underscoring the rabidity of the anti-Trump movement, Nadler kicked off his impeachment hearings mere weeks later, on June 10th. His bungled performance was widely derided, so much so that many pundits predicted Nadler wouldn't be allowed to lead the Judiciary Committee hearings that began today. Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member from Georgia, opined on the June hearings in a letter to Nadler:
This appears to be part of a strategy to turn the Committee’s oversight hearings into a mock-impeachment inquiry rather than a legitimate exercise in congressional oversight. Conducting such hearings inevitably sets this Committee on a collision course with the longstanding Rules of the House, which you have apparently alluded to as recently as this week.
The nonstop fight against the president has taken a toll on the diminutive Nadler. However, as Fox News reported in April, that same career-long struggle does give him one advantage: he knows plenty of Trump's past associates. "Fast-forward to 2019, and Nadler’s committee is leading several Trump-related inquiries. Last month, Nadler sent document requests to 81 individuals and entities connected to the president and his business dealings."
We shall see if any of his insider information proves germane to the impeachment proceedings. Regardless, expect Nadler to throw anything not bolted down at Trump during the hearings today and next week. His personal vendetta against Trump has shaped Nadler's career. The usually self-possessed congressman said that he's "not going to take any shit" during the hearings, allegedly drawing gasps in the closed-door meeting yesterday.
For Nadler, it's not business. It's not legitimate. It's not fair. It's personal.
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Nobody played with little "Jerrree" when he was a kid....Now he wants to get even.