Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, accusing him of obstructing the federal investigation into Russia‘s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Sherman’s move marks the strongest formal move yet against a president ensnared by an ever-intensifying controversy, but it is a political risk with little chance of success in a Republican-controlled Congress.
Sherman asserts that Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey in early May was an attempt to interfere in the bureau’s investigation into Russia, which included probes into the conduct of Trump team members.
“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,” Sherman’s articles of impeachment state.
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month that Trump asked him to “let go” an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn during a private meeting in the Oval Office in February. Flynn had resigned the day before the meeting after reports revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador.
The White House initially claimed Trump fired Comey due to his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email system for her work as secretary of state. Trump, speaking with NBC News’ Lester Holt the following day, said the Russia investigation influenced his decision to fire Comey.
Comey’s ouster led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Muller, a former FBI director, as special prosecutor to lead the federal investigation into Russia, which now includes a criminal probe into whether Trump obstructed justice.
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The Russia controversy intensified this week after Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, published emails that reveal he met with a Russian lawyer. The attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was identified in an email as a “Russian government lawyer” who allegedly had “incriminating” information about Clinton that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Filing articles of impeachment is merely the first step in a lengthy process that involves both houses of Congress. Merely filing articles of impeachment against a president does not have any legal ramifications, nor does it necessarily lead to a president leaving office.
Sherman first announced his intentions to bring articles of impeachment against Trump last month. He is currently the only sponsor, and it is it will soon hit insurmountable roadblocks. Few Democratic lawmakers have openly called for Trump’s impeachment, and some believe such an aggressive tactic against the president could backfire politically.
Read Sherman’s articles of impeachment against Trump below: