House Dem proposes article of impeachment

House Dem proposes article of impeachment
© Greg Nash

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) unveiled a proposed article of impeachment Monday against President Trump for allegedly obstructing justice in a federal investigation.

The legislative text argues that Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure since-fired FBI Director James Comey to drop the agency’s investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn amounts to obstruction of justice.

“In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the proposed article of impeachment states. 

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Sherman wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers on Monday that he may try to force a floor vote on his article of impeachment if the House Judiciary Committee does not take it up.

“I would hope that the Article, once submitted, would receive expeditious consideration by the Judiciary Committee. However, if it becomes clear that such consideration is not forthcoming, I (after consultation with colleagues and leadership) will make a privileged motion that the entire House of Representatives immediately debate the Article,” he wrote.

Democrats frequently will offer what are known as “privileged” motions to automatically force a House floor vote. But Republicans, while in the majority, have typically dismissed them, therefore leading to procedural votes to reject the motions. 

“At that point, I expect there will be a Motion to Table, thus triggering our first impeachment-related vote,” Sherman wrote.

Since February, Democrats have been using the same procedure to force near-weekly votes on resolutions demanding Trump’s tax returns.

If Sherman forces a vote on his article of impeachment, it would mark a major escalation in Democrats’ floor messaging against Trump.

Sherman indicated that he may file more articles of impeachment if there is “additional evidence” to support charges against Trump. But for now, he argued that the allegations that Trump tried to pressure Comey to drop the Flynn probe were enough to go forward with impeachment. 

“As the investigations move forward, additional evidence supporting additional Articles of Impeachment may emerge. However, as to Obstruction of Justice … the evidence we have is sufficient to move forward now. And the national interest requires that we do so,” Sherman wrote. 

Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump Pelosi, Hoyer: Now is not the time to consider impeachment MORE (D-Texas) was the first Democrat to announce he would begin drafting articles of impeachment against Trump. Sherman joined Green at a press conference last week announcing the move, during which he said he was drawing up a single article of impeachment. 

Green is working separately on a similar resolution charging that Trump tried to obstruct justice, along with other actions that could merit separate impeachment articles.

“The question really is not whether the president has obstructed justice; the question really is whether the president can obstruct justice with impunity,” Green said at the press conference last Wednesday. “The president, like all others, is not above the law.”

Democratic leaders, for their part, have so far kept their distance from calls for impeaching Trump.