On Wednesday, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), who has been threatening for weeks to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump, did exactly that, joining Congressman Al Green (D-TX) to introduce an Article of Impeachment (H. Res. 438) against Trump for High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
As Sherman’s website notes:
The Article is based on Article 1, dealing with “Obstruction of Justice,” which was passed by the Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote on July 27, 1974, regarding Richard M. Nixon. Sherman circulated a draft Article on June 12, 2017, and has been conferring with colleagues and legal experts from around the country since then.
Recent disclosures by Donald Trump Jr. indicate that Trump’s campaign was eager to receive assistance from Russia. It now seems likely that the President had something to hide when he tried to curtail the investigation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the wider Russian probe. I believe his conversations with, and subsequent firing of, FBI Director James Comey constitute Obstruction of Justice.
Every day Democrats, Republicans, and the entire world are shocked by the latest example of America’s amateur President. Ignorance accompanied by a refusal to learn. Lack of impulse control, accompanied by a refusal to have his staff control his impulses. We’re no longer surprised by any action, no matter how far below the dignity of the office—and no matter how dangerous to the country.
But the Constitution does not provide for the removal of a President for impulsive, ignorant incompetence. It does provide for the removal of a President for High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
As the investigations move forward, additional evidence supporting additional Articles of Impeachment may emerge. However, as to Obstruction of Justice, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (b)(3), the evidence we have is sufficient to move forward now. And the national interest requires that we do so.
Introducing Articles of Impeachment will have two possible outcomes. First, I have slight hope it will inspire an ‘intervention’ in the White House. If Impeachment is real, if they actually see Articles, perhaps we will see incompetency replaced by care. Perhaps uncontrollable impulses will be controlled. And perhaps the danger our nation faces will be ameliorated.
Second, and more likely, filing Articles of Impeachment is the first step on a very long road. But if the impulsive incompetency continues, then eventually—many, many months from now—Republicans will join the impeachment effort.
I author Articles of Impeachment not to change our national policy. I served with Mike Pence in Congress for twelve years and I disagree with him on just about everything. I never dreamed I would author a measure that would put him in the White House. I am introducing Articles of Impeachment to begin a long process to protect our country from abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and impulsive, ignorant incompetence.
On June 7, Sherman held a press conference at which he mentioned that he was drafting articles of impeachment. He spoke of alleged meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign as well as the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. He stated, “This matter needs to be analyzed in terms of preserving constitutional rule of law, not on the basis of partisanship … This is a sad day for our country. Our Constitution and democracy require that our leaders be held accountable to the rule of law … Richard M. Nixon was required to resign not for the crime but for the cover-up, obstruction of justice.”