© Greg Nash
An effort to impeach President Trump grew twofold on Wednesday, with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) joining fellow Democratic Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThousands march on Washington in voting rights push Rental aid emerges as new housing fight after eviction ban Rep. Al Green, Texas state lawmaker arrested outside Capitol during voting rights protest MORE’s (Texas) incipient bid to push the president out of office.
“The standard for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ has been met,” Sherman said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
Sherman said he’s drawing up a single article of impeachment — the first step in any congressional effort to oust a sitting president — based on Trump’s firing last month of former FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the bureau's investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible ties between Trump's campaign and Moscow.
Sherman said his resolution is “remarkably similar” to that passed in 1974 by the House Judiciary Committee as part of the impeachment process that led to the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Sherman said his draft resolution is currently being reviewed by policy lawyers and he expects to introduce it “fairly soon” — a timeline he defined as “weeks rather than months.”
Green, working separately, is drafting a similar obstruction-of-justice resolution, while eying other areas where Trump’s actions may merit separate impeachment articles, he said, declining to offer specifics.
“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. “The president, like all others, is not above the law.”
Comey, who’s poised to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, released his opening statement on Wednesday recounting a series of meetings with Trump, including episodes where the president allegedly nudged the FBI chief to abandon a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The testimony will only fuel the attacks from Trump’s Democratic critics. Still, both Green and Sherman acknowledged that they’re a long way from ousting Trump — an effort that would require a public outcry significant enough to bring Trump’s GOP allies on Capitol Hill to consider the measure.
“If articles of impeachment based on obstruction of justice were on the floor of the House today, they would not succeed,” Sherman conceded. “This is going to be a long process. … It will be a process that will take many months … and additional facts being exposed.”
Characterizing his decision as “a question of conscience,” Green said he has not pressured anyone else to join the effort. Instead, Sherman approached Green on the matter last Friday, both lawmakers said.
“I’ve not lobbied anybody; I’m not going to lobby anybody,” Green said.
The impeachment push has emerged as something of a headache for Democratic leaders, who are highly suspicious of Trump’s ties to Moscow, but are also wary of over-politicizing the ongoing Trump-Russia saga — particularly when damaging new details are emerging on a near-daily basis.
“I don’t want to leap to any conclusions about what we’ll ultimately find or what the consequences should be,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global Schiff calls on Amazon, Facebook to address spread of vaccine misinformation Spotlight turns to GOP's McCarthy in Jan. 6 probe MORE (Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told The Hill on Wednesday.
“We’re still very early in the investigative process.”
But Green and Sherman have rejected the notion that there’s insufficient evidence to justify the impeachment launch.
“I’m convinced,” Green said, “he’s already committed an impeachable crime.”