Today, a Trump impeachment is moving past theory and the formulation of legal grounds and has officially become a paper trail in Congress. The L.A. Times reports today that Democratic Congress member Rep. Brad Sherman of California has been the first member of the House of Representatives to draft and circulate a resolution that would be the first step in formulating articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
America and indeed the world has been talking about a potential Trump impeachment since long before Trump even took office. In September 2016, Professor Christopher Peterson of the University of Utah published a paper in the Oregon Law Review citing a legal basis of fraud and racketeering upon which he thought a potential Trump impeachment could occur. That article was revised last week on June 20.
Now Rep. Brad Sherman is making a case for a Trump impeachment, using the legal grounds of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as defined by the United States Constitution. In Professor Peterson’s paper, he defined fraud and racketeering as applicable to the high crimes definition as required by the Constitution.
The L.A. Times reports that Brad Sherman is an 11-term Democrat, and is the first to make the paper trail for articles of impeachment against the current president. Brad Sherman also sits on the House Financial Services Committee.
He’s not the only Democrat that has used the “I” word. Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for a Trump impeachment, casually and not formally in Congress. Rep. Ted Lieu from California, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee where impeachment would begin, has also tweeted that he is reading up on the impeachment process.
Rep. Sherman’s impeachment proposal has accused Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, through the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
In an interview with the L.A. Times Sherman said,
“I think that the president’s approach to governance is a threat to the republic. I’m circulating the articles to try to move one step closer in the process and also, hopefully…push the White House to say we’ve got to move toward competence.”
Brad Sherman has written a letter to colleagues asking them to consider his resolution. He is also considering a legal move that would enable him to bring it to the House floor that would force the House to go on record with a vote on a Trump impeachment.
Democrat Congress member Rep. Al Green from Texas has also said he is going to be drafting articles of impeachment. This has not happened yet.
Brad Sherman stated that he worked with the House Office of the Legislative Counsel to draft his formal articles. Where Sherman’s measure differs from Green’s is that Green offered no timeline on his proposal, but Brad Sherman expects action on his “to be ready in the coming weeks rather than months” according to a newspaper clipping from the L.A. Times online.
Congressman Sherman will join Congressman Green to draft articles of impeachment. Resolution to come in weeks. pic.twitter.com/bzZmgUkXE4— Carmen Gonzalez (@crgonzalez) June 11, 2017
Rep. Sherman has said he will not bring it to the floor to force a vote without first consulting the Democratic caucus. And, although Rep. Lieu of California has been reading up on a Trump impeachment process, his spokesperson said that Rep. Lieu believes, “aside from declaring war, impeaching a president is the gravest action members of Congress can take and it should never be the first option.”
Even so, Congress members act on behalf of their constituents, and the American constituency has been very loud on a Trump impeachment. “Impeach Trump” signs appear everywhere in the world today.
The Impeach Donald Trump Now group has a petition in place, calling on Congress to investigate if grounds for impeachment exist. The petition is now at 1.1 million signatures at the time of press.
The Independent reports that Robert Reich, who served with President Ford and President Carter, has been very vocal about a Trump impeachment. He recently said the following.
“Obstruction of justice was among the articles of impeachment drafted against both Presidents Nixon and Clinton. The parallel between Nixon and Trump is almost exact. White House tapes revealed Nixon giving instructions to pressure the acting FBI director into halting the Watergate investigation. Two weeks after Trump told Comey privately, ‘I need loyalty,’ he had another private meeting with Comey in the Oval Office…after shooing out his advisers – all of whom had top security clearance…”
Donald Trump has called the investigation into Trump Russia collusion and interference a witch hunt.
Robert Reich says the legal statute of obstruction of justice applies when, “whoever corruptly, or by threats of force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law.”
A Donald Trump impeachment would start in the House Judiciary Committee. However, the Trump Russia investigation is nowhere near complete. While Donald Trump has been accused of obstruction of justice by the general public and many legal eagles, the allegations have not been tested at the Congressional level, yet.
That is not to say they won’t be, but just that, there is a lengthy process to go before that happens. An investigation led by Robert Mueller is underway and ongoing to reach answers to the questions Americans are posing on that matter today.
Although a resolution for articles of impeachment has been drafted, and looks very similar to the ones against President Nixon, the process of impeachment itself is lengthy. Those hanging on the hopes of bloggers and speculators that it will happen soon would be disappointed.
[Featured Image by Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/AP Images]