Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA) was on Hardball last night to talk about what the House Judiciary committee will be looking for in their impeachment inquiry.
"This was investigated in the Southern District of New York. The case was closed without any further action. What can you learn here? What do you hope to learn here that we don't already know?" Steve Kornacki said.
"Well, what we know already is that Michael Cohen is serving jail time for campaign finance violations involving paying money in violation of campaign finance laws to affect the election of his then-boss, Donald Trump. We know that the Southern District investigated it. We know that the D.A. in Manhattan is still investigating it, and just recently, just at the beginning of August, issued some more subpoenas. So there are active facts there that should be looked into. I think it would be malpractice of the Judiciary not to look into whether the president authorized payments to anybody to try to impact his election.," Scanlon said.
"I guess that's my question, because I've seen one of your colleagues quoted 'already satisfied that the evidence is there that shows the president was a co-conspirator.' Is that your view or not?"
"There may be evidence there, but our committee hasn't seen it. Congress hasn't seen it, there was evidence presented to the grand jury. The U.S. attorney up there refers to someone who can only be the president as Individual Number 1 as having authorized payments in violation of campaign finance laws. So it's kind of like you can charge someone based upon what you've been told, but you need to see the evidence before you go to trial," she said.
Scanlon said she was "much more interested in who authorized any hush money payments than who they were given to."
"The chairman of your committee, Jerry Nadler, says the Judiciary committee is already engaged in an impeachment inquiry. Is this part of that?"
"I think it absolutely is. One of the core functions of the Judiciary committee is to determine whether or not they're impeachable offenses. The Mueller report was part of that, but there is certainly a number of other allegations concerning this administration that could amount to high crimes and misdemeanors," she said.
"So I guess that's an interesting question then. Do you believe the question you're posing here is whether the president was involved in or whether or not he was the principal figure in setting up this scheme to go around campaign finance laws to keep the politically embarrassing affair a secret during the campaign. You believe if established that would be impeachable? That would be a high crime?"
"Absolutely," Scanlon said.
"In fact, the framers of the Constitution, when they debated those terms, whether or not there should be an impeachment clause, right here in Philadelphia where I'm sitting, they laid out a number of things that they viewed as impeachable offenses.
"One of them was procuring election by corruption. If the president procured his election by corruption, then the founders of our country viewed that as an impeachable offense."