House Dem pledges Trump impeachment vote by Christmas

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) announced on Wednesday that he will force a vote on the House floor to impeach President Trump before Christmas.

“I now announce that before Christmas, there will be a vote on the chief inciter of racism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, sexism, ethnocentrism. There will be a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the impeachment of the president,” Green said in a House floor speech. 

Green had previously unveiled articles of impeachment last month. But he held off from forcing a vote at the time, citing a desire for the public to have a chance to consider them.

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The Texas Democrat did not offer a specific date for when he would force a vote, saying only that it would be before the December holiday.

Forcing a vote on impeachment could be more awkward for Democrats than for Republicans.

Virtually all Republicans would presumably vote to reject Green’s effort to impeach Trump. But it would split Democrats, a handful of whom are agitating for Trump’s impeachment. 

However, most of the House Democratic caucus, including its leadership, think voting to impeach Trump at this point would be premature and ultimately backfire. They want to wait for the outcome of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in 2016 before detonating the political bomb of impeachment.

Twelve Democrats represent districts carried by Trump in 2016, which would put them in a particularly risky position as they seek to avoid angering the president’s supporters. 

“And while I have been told that there are political consequences for what I will do, I accept the consequences,” Green said.

Under House rules, under member can force a vote on what is known as a “privileged” resolution within two days after giving notice of their intentions.

Republicans would likely move to table the resolution, resulting in a procedural vote that would serve as the first referendum in Congress on impeaching Trump.

“Whatever others will do is their choice. My conscience dictates that I will vote to impeach. Let others do what they may. History will judge us all,” Green said.

His articles of impeachment do not accuse Trump of committing a crime. Instead, Green’s impeachment articles state that Trump has “undermined the integrity of his office” and “brought disrepute on the presidency” with his equivocating response to the violence stemming from a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va.; attacks on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality; and since-dismissed allegations by Trump that former President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower.

By contrast, an article of impeachment filed by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) alleges that Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as director of the FBI amid the agency's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 election.

Green’s announcement on an issue that divides Democrats came a day after the party won resounding victories in elections for governor in Virginia and New Jersey. In Virginia, Democrats are close to unexpectedly taking control of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.

“I pray that this country will continue to reject what the inciter-in-chief, Donald J. Trump, has been causing this country to have to endure,” Green said.

—Updated at 11:22 a.m.