Democrats file articles of impeachment against Trump

Six congressional Democrats file articles of impeachment, beginning effort to remove President Trump from office.

David Rosenberg ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Six Democratic lawmakers filed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, launching the process designed to remove sitting officials from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

House Democrats Steve Cohen (Tennessee), John Yarmuth (Kentucky), Adriano Espaillat (New York), Luis Gutierrez (Illinois), Al Green (Texas), and Marcia Fudge (Ohio) filed five articles of impeachment against the president, claiming that Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice for having fired former FBI Director James Comey, was in violation of the Constitution’s emolument clause due to the Trump Organization’s business relationship with foreign entities, and had ‘undermined’ federal courts and First Amendment freedom of the press.

“There’s no reason we don’t start now with definite violations of our Constitution and threats to our democracy,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents Tennessee’s 9th district, covering the city of Memphis. “There are already sufficient facts in the public record to warrant the start of impeachment proceedings in Congress. Given the magnitude of the constitutional crisis, there is no reason for delay.”

The six House Democrats claimed that President Trump’s actions during his first months in office constituted the “high crimes and misdemeanors” which, according to Article II of the Constitution, are grounds for impeachment.

Articles of impeachment were last filed against a president in 2008, less than a year before President George W. Bush left office. The 35 articles of impeachment filed against President Bush were referred to the House Judiciary Committee by a majority of 251 to 166, but did not lead to an impeachment vote prior to the end of Bush’s term on January 20th, 2009.

But senior Democrats do not appear willing to endorse the current impeachment efforts, with both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer voicing their disagreement with the attempt to remove Trump from office.

“Electing a president of the United States is the most important act that American citizens take in setting the policies of their country,” said Hoyer. “That should not be overturned except for the most egregious and demonstrable facts, and both Leader Pelosi and I believe that it is not timely to address that issue given what’s in front of us.”

Nevertheless, backers of the impeachment proceedings are optimistic that at the very least, the attempt could energize the Democratic base in next year’s midterm election.

But impeachment efforts can also backfire – prompting opponents to rally behind the president’s party. In 1998, as congressional Republicans pressed ahead with the impeachment of President Clinton, Democrats denied Republicans a much-anticipated sweep in the Senate mid-term elections, and picked up five seats in the House of Representatives. The surprising election results in a year pollsters had predicted would end with significant GOP gains was largely linked to the unpopularity of impeachment efforts against Clinton, with exit polls suggesting the impeachment factor had motivated Democratic voters.