House Democrat Files Article of Impeachment against Trump

Democratic Representative Brad Sherman formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday that accuses the president of obstructing justice during the federal investigation of Russia’s 2016 election interference, The Hill reports.

This is the first time a lawmaker has offered an impeachment article against Trump, and it comes as Democrats have debated whether it is politically wise to press the case for impeachment at this time. A majority vote in the House, currently controlled by Republicans, is required to impeach a president. Republicans have a 46-seat advantage.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized the move, calling it a “completely ridiculous political game”.

“I think that is utterly and completely ridiculous and a political game at its worst,” she told reporters Wednesday.

In filing his impeachment article, Sherman argues that Trump’s abrupt firing of James Comey as FBI director in May amounts to obstructing justice and “high crimes and misdemeanors” amid the probes of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to swing the election.

Sherman cites Comey’s allegations that Trump pressured him to drop the FBI’s investigation into ousted former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as Trump’s shifting story on why he fired Comey.

“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. Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office,” the article of impeachment states.

Sherman’s article is unlikely to succeed in the GOP-controlled House, but the California Democrat said he hoped introducing an article of impeachment would serve as a warning to the Trump White House and establish a legislative vehicle in the long-shot event that Republicans endorse forcing Trump out of office, The Hill adds.

Sherman so far has only one supporter on his article of impeachment: Representative Al Green, who previously called for Trump’s impeachment on the House floor. Democratic leaders in the House reacted with caution to Sherman’s move. Most fell back on the argument that Congress should set up an independent commission to investigate Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and possible links between Trump’s team and Moscow.

“Leader Pelosi has repeatedly called for an outside, independent commission to get to the bottom of Trump’s connection to Russia’s interference in our election and to examine ways to protect the integrity of our democracy from foreign meddling in the future,” Ashley Etienne, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

Introduction of the article of impeachment comes a day after Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., released a chain of emails showing his effort to meet with a Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during last year’s campaign. Some critics say that the emails are evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

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