It could be the most important moment of Jerry Nadler's career.
Starting next Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry reaches the House Judiciary Committee. As its chairman, Manhattan and Brooklyn Rep. Nadler, will be the leading voice.
"I think Jerry is very aware of the constitutional role and the history of the country that he is playing. I think this is a unique moment," says political consultant Bob Liff, from George Arzt Communications.
"This could do him a lot of damage if he is seen as kind of losing control of the situation," adds Andrew Kirtzman, president of Kirtzman Strategies. "The stakes for him are high."
Nadler is taking the baton from California Congressman Adam Schiff, who, as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, led the impeachment hearings for two weeks.
"Adam Schiff was smooth and ran those hearings with military efficiency," Kirtzman says. "Jerry Nadler isn't as smooth. He is enormously competent, knows his stuff, but the question is whether or not he is going to be able to keep those hearings under control."
- Rudy Giuliani and the Impeachment Hearing: Over 40 Mentions on Day One
- Rudy Giuliani Faces Scrutiny Over Ties to Ukraine
The Democrats believe they now have enough evidence, as presented by different witnesses, that President Donald Trump abused his power by, among other things, asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid.
The Judiciary Committee will interview legal experts so Democrats have a constitutional basis on which to draft articles of impeachment that would eventually be sent to the full House for a vote.
"The fact that he is starting with a number of witnesses to kind of talk about what 'high crimes and misdemeanors' means under the Constitution shows you that he is taking this really seriously and that he is going to move at his own pace," Liff says.
Trump and Nadler have known each other for decades. Back in the 80s, then-Assemblyman Nadler opposed Trump's plan to build a massive development complex on the Upper West Side.
Nadler is giving the White House a chance to participate in the hearings. So far, there's no official decision on whether the president would take him up on his offer.
ADDITIONAL IMPEACHMENT COVERAGE
Looking for an easy way to learn about the issues affecting New York City?