by Matt Shuham
Two Democratic congressmen introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, marking the first formal effort to oust the President for high crimes and misdemeanors.
“[T]he Constitution does not provide for the removal of a President for impulsive, ignorant incompetence,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said in a statement on his website Wednesday. “It does provide for the removal of a President for High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The effort is extremely unlikely to make it very far in the Republican-controlled Congress.
The article, co-sponsored by Rep. Al Green (D-TX), accuses Trump of seeking “to use his authority to hinder and cause the termination” of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, “including through threatening, and then terminating, James Comey.”
Sherman cites Trump’s admission on national television that he fired the FBI director over the Russia investigation, and Trump’s reported comment to a Russian delegation at the White House the day following the firing that he felt relieved.
“As the investigations move forward, additional evidence supporting additional Articles of Impeachment may emerge,” Sherman continued in his statement. “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.”
18 U.S.C. § 1512 (b)(3) concerns efforts to use “intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to […] hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of the United States of information relating to the commission or possible commission of a Federal offense or a violation of conditions of probation supervised release, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings.”
The Hill reported in June that Sherman’s draft article of impeachment had riled his fellow House Democrats, some of whom said in a caucus-wide meeting that it had come too early to be fully supported by the facts.