Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, said on Wednesday that she intends to file articles of impeachment against Donald Trump before the end of March, CNN is reporting. However, her Democratic leaders in Congress caution that talk of impeachment is, at this time anyway, premature.
“Later on this month, I will be joining folks and advocates across the country to file the impeachment resolution to start the impeachment proceedings.”
Constitutionally speaking, issuing articles of impeachment is a relatively straightforward process. Any member of the House can submit his or her accusations against the president at any time, and for just about any reason. The resolution will then be voted on. If the vote to impeach passes in the House by a simple majority vote, the president will be said to have been impeached, and he will later stand trial in the Senate. There, it would take a two-thirds majority vote to remove the president from office.
As of this writing, only two U.S. presidents have been impeached. In 1868, Andrew Johnson was impeached for certain procedural and political missteps. In 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power. Neither man was convicted in the Senate, and both went on to complete their terms.
Prior to the 2018 mid-term election, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, making any effort at impeachment essentially dead on arrival. Now, however, Democrats control the House, and may have the votes to impeach — if an impeachment resolution is sent to the floor for a vote.
Today, I announced that later this month, I will be introducing a resolution to have the Judiciary Committee move on investigating grounds for impeachment. Our democracy must be protected. @by_the_ppl @CREDOMobile #accountabilityNow pic.twitter.com/qWXfE6zLmp— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) March 6, 2019
However, Tlaib’s leaders in the Democratic Party — even before taking over the House following the 2018 mid-terms — have been loathe to discuss impeachment, at least at this time. Nancy Pelosi, for example, has urged that her colleagues focus instead on advancing their platform. She has advised her Democrat colleagues to hold off on discussion of impeachment, at least until the Mueller investigation has run its course.
But, in recent days — particularly in light of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony last week — Democrats are again discussing impeachment. For example, House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrod Nadler has already begun the process of subpoenaing documents from dozens of individuals and entities connected to Donald Trump. He freely admitted over the weekend that the goal of the probe is to look into possible impeachable offenses.
However, he cautioned at the time that it would be impossible to make a case for impeachment without supporting evidence to back it up, and he wants his committee to complete its investigation before proceeding.
That could take months. Tlaib said she’s not willing to wait.
“I think every single colleague of mine agrees there’s impeachable offenses. That’s one thing that we all agree on. We may disagree on the pace.”
However, Tlaib’s leaders in the House may yet try to stifle her efforts at issuing an impeachment resolution this early. As The Washington Times notes, Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic Caucus chair, is reluctant to discuss impeachment right now, saying, “impeachment is premature at this moment.”
Last week, Nancy Pelosi — when asked by reporters about impeachment — simply repeated, “I’m not getting into that, I’m not getting into that.”