In a significant escalation of the battle between the Democratic-controlled House and the White House over potential impeachment of President Donald Trump, Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., along with two other congressmen, has introduced articles of impeachment against the president.
Clay, along with fellow Democrats Rep. Brad Sherman of California and Rep. Al Green of Texas, sponsored on Friday formal articles of impeachment against Trump. The proposal, House Resolution 13, is titled “Impeaching Donald Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The impeachment resolution has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and seeks to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.
The articles of impeachment repeatedly cite instances in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report that outline potential obstruction of justice. Mueller has said, both in the report and in a brief public statement, that the president may be potentially guilty of obstruction. But since, in Mueller’s reading, a sitting president can not be indicted, the solution, in Mueller’s words, “… lies with Congress.”
In a statement released after the impeachment resolution was announced, Clay said, “Impeachment is the only constitutionally available remedy that would directly address President Trump’s blatant and repeated attempts to obstruct justice.”
The impeachment articles detail Trump’s attempts, catalogued by Mueller, to terminate the Russia investigation, including firing then-FBI Director James Comey. The impeachment articles conclude: “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.”
These are the first actual articles of impeachment introduced in Congress against Trump.
To be removed from office, Trump would have to be impeached by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and then convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate in an impeachment trial. No sitting president has ever been convicted by the Senate in impeachment proceedings, although the House did vote to impeach both President Andrew Johnson immediately after the Civil War, and President Bill Clinton in 1998.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has repeatedly come out against impeachment, a position that has put her at odds with many House Democrats, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. Nadler favors the Judiciary Committee’s beginning public, televised impeachment hearings, including calling witnesses.
In introducing the impeachment articles, Clay said in a statement: “In the past, other presidents who trampled on the Rule of Law dishonored their office, and violated their sacred oath, were ultimately held accountable by the Constitution and the harsh judgement of history. Donald Trump is about to learn that same lesson.”