Top local congressional Democrats are jumping on the impeach-President-Trump bandwagon while being pushed to the left by AOC-type challengers, their rivals claim.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler last week became the third powerful New York Democratic chair to publicly embrace the I-word in 10 days, calling the House Dems’ investigations “formal impeachment proceedings.”
He followed House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, both of whom came out in late July for a Trump impeachment.
In addition to backing impeachment, the three powerful pols have something else in common: They are all facing challengers from the left heading into the election next year.
And their political rivals say the incumbents’ calls for impeachment are only coming about because of their challenges.
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“From a timing perspective I think that conclusion is unavoidable,” said Mondaire Jones, a 32-year-old lawyer from Rockland County who plans to take on Lowey next June.
“Approximately one week after your first primary challenge in 30 years, you vote not to table the articles of impeachment that were presented on the House floor? And then just a few days later you come out explicitly in support of impeachment?”
The stunning 2018 Democratic Party primary win by far-left Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Bronx-Queens) over then-incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley is forcing middle-of-the-road Dems to think twice about toeing their usual line, her backers say.
Nadler is now facing a trio of female rivals led by Lindsey Boylan, followed by Holly Lynch and Amanda Frankel.
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Boylan, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has wanted the House to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump since the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress in February. She blasted Nadler for “dithering” on impeachment in a recent interview with The Post.
“That’s not leadership,” Boyland told The Post.
Nadler’s campaign responded in a statement, “Congressman Nadler’s record speaks for itself — he has a long history of taking difficult, principled stands, fighting for good government and working for the best interests of his constituents and the country.”
Jamaal Bowman — who got an endorsement from the AOC-affiliated Justice Democrats straight out of the gate — said he couldn’t speak to how much he pushed Engel on impeachment. But he recalled Engel being critical previously of progressive lawmakers.
“And now he’s moved arguably to the left on impeachment,” the 43-year-old Bowman pointed out. “That sort of contradictory leadership is not what we need in the district.”
Reps for both Lowey and Engel said primary challenges had nothing to do with the incumbent Democrats — both first elected in 1988 — coming around on impeachment.
When making her decision, “Congresswoman Lowey considered the views of thousands of her constituents who have contacted her about investigations into the Trump organization and about an impeachment inquiry as well as the ongoing court cases, facts uncovered by various committees and Special Counsel Mueller, and his testimony before Congress,’’ said an aide, Elizabeth Stanley.
Engel campaign consultant Arnold Linhardt said, “As for [Engel] just making a decision based on politics? No.
“I want to hear an argument for how Engel, Nadler and Lowey and Hakeem Jeffries are not good for the country or for the state or for their Congressional district,’’ Linhardt said.