It was the question of the 2018 midterms: will Democrats use a House majority to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump? The answer was always consistent — That would be “premature.” We need to wait for Robert Mueller to finish up. No, no, no …
Rep. Brad Sherman plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump on Thursday, the first day of Democratic control of the House.
Sherman (D-Northridge) is reintroducing a measure that he first rolled out in 2017. But this year it carries more political significance: The decision of whether to act on it rests with Democrats — not Trump’s Republican allies.
Sherman’s articles of impeachment accuse Trump of obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James B. Comey, among other wrongdoing.
“There is no reason it shouldn’t be before the Congress,” Sherman said. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country.”
It’s not the first bite at the sour apple for Sherman. He tried pushing an impeachment measure in July 2017, which went nowhere fast even though he combined his efforts with those of Rep. Al Green (D-TX). Sherman’s argument then is the same as it is now, which is that firing Comey was objectively an intent to obstruct justice in the Russia-collusion probe:
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.
The world hasn’t changed much in 18 months. No additional evidence supporting additional articles of impeachment have emerged, although that doesn’t mean that it won’t. Mueller has played his cards very close to the vest, with only hints of his direction coming from the indictments and subpoenas filed in court. However, the fact that these investigations continued — and that other bipartisan grounds existed for cashiering Comey — make it pretty clear that an obstruction case on that basis almost certainly can’t move forward, at least in court.
The House can do whatever it wants, of course, as long as a majority agrees to it. Conviction and removal won’t go anywhere in the Senate, especially on the terms Sherman’s proposing, which sets up an interesting challenge today for Nancy Pelosi. Earlier today, she insisted that Democrats have to wait for Mueller to finish before deciding how to proceed on impeachment. As this post goes to publish, the House has just made Pelosi Speaker again. Will she quash this attempt by Sherman to move forward on impeachment, or will she allow it to move forward? And just how many House Democrats want to go on record on their first day by voting to start an impeachment?