And so it begins.
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has formally filed articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump in the House of Representatives this afternoon. The measure, now officially known as H.R. 438, is the first official impeachment bill to be submitted in congress, and it’s co-sponsored by Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who was the first member of congress to formally call for impeachment back on May 17.
“The measure accuses Trump of obstruction of justice,” writes Los Angeles Times reporter Christine Mai-Duc, “and seeking to ‘use his authority to hinder and cause the termination’ of an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn, including ‘through threatening, and then terminating, James Comey.'”
“In all of this,” Rep. Sherman’s impeachment bill states, “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.”
Despite the timing, coming days after the president’s son confessed to meeting with a Kremlin lawyer at Trump Tower in the summer of 2016 to receive information that could damage Hillary Clinton in the general election, Rep. Sherman’s bill is not a direct reaction to that. He floated draft articles of impeachment a month ago and pledged to keep working on them.
With Republicans in control of congress, and multiple investigations still underway, it’s unlikely Rep. Sherman’s bill gains any traction. But the point is to use the procedural rules of the House to force members to take a stand on the president’s dubious conduct.
According to Cristina Marcos at The Hill, “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.”
Regardless of the bill’s prospects, it’s still historic. Only three presidents in American History have faced articles of impeachment. If or when Donald Trump is finally forced from office, even if it takes months or years, we will look back on Rep. Sherman’s bill as the beginning of the end.