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.
He 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.
White House officials initially pointed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo criticizing Comey’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. But Trump later said in an NBC News interview the Russia probe was on his mind when deciding to fire 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.
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 Republicans endorse forcing Trump out of office.
Sherman added that he never expected he would want to elevate Vice President Pence to the Oval Office.
“I served with Mike Pence in Congress for twelve years and I disagree with him on just about everything,” Sherman said in a statement. “I never dreamed I would author a measure that would put him in the White House.”
However, Sherman said, he wants “to begin a long process to protect our country from abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and impulsive, ignorant incompetence.”
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 Clinton during last year’s campaign. Some critics charge that the emails are evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” an intermediary working to set up the meeting wrote in an email.
Sherman so far has only one supporter on his article of impeachment: Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who previously called for Trump’s impeachment on the House floor.
Sherman drew ire from fellow House Democrats last month when he began circulating a draft article of impeachment and suggested he might force a floor vote on it.
Democratic leaders and most rank-and-file members aren’t eager to aggressively push impeachment at this point. One leadership ally, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), stood up during a Democratic caucus meeting to say Sherman’s effort could hurt the party.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) backed Capuano at the time, saying Democrats should focus on issues like healthcare repeal.
Aides to Pelosi and Crowley didn’t immediately offer comment on Wednesday.
Under House rules, any member can force a vote on what’s known as a “privileged” resolution that argues an issue concerns the dignity and integrity of the institution.
House Republicans could easily reject the resolution, but it would put all members on record regarding Trump’s impeachment.
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