Leftist Democratic Rep. Al Green on Wednesday followed through on threats to compel an impeachment vote against President Trump, filing four articles of impeachment in the House while delivering an anti-Trump tirade on the floor.
The Texas congressman’s move is expected to force a vote either Thursday or Friday, putting fellow Democrats in an extremely awkward spot.
“Today, I rise to use the constitutionally prescribed political process of impeachment to speak truth to the most powerful man on earth, the president of the United States of America,” Green said in a speech on the House floor.
Accusing President Trump of betraying “his trust as president” by embracing racism, Green referenced Adolf Hitler and made the point that Trump can still be removed from office even if he didn’t commit a crime.
“The public has been led to believe that a president must commit a crime to be impeached, which is not true,” Green said. “If any president persisted with the lie that ‘Hitler was right,’ he would be, and should be, impeached not for a crime, but for betraying his trust as president.”
Green’s resolution covers four articles of impeachment.
One accuses the president of “inciting white supremacy, sexism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, race-baiting, and racism by demeaning, defaming, disrespecting and disparaging women and certain minorities.” Another alleges Trump brought “shame and dishonor to the office of the presidency by associating the majesty and dignity of the presidency with causes rooted in white supremacy, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and neo-Nazism.”
Another still condemns Trump for saying “three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.”
The fourth article accuses the president of “encouraging law enforcement officials to violate the Constitutional rights of the suspects in their case.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the effort “pathetic” in a tweet Wednesday.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 11, 2017
Green initially said he planned to file the resolution last week, but he postponed it after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“Impeachment is postponed,” Green said last week. “Let us mourn. Let us heal.”
Green’s resolution is considered “privileged” by the House, meaning it has to be considered by the end of the week.
Green’s push is not supported by many senior Democrats, even as they rail against the president.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, told The Hill in response to Green’s threat: “We’re not there yet,” despite Trump having done “really terrible things.”
It’s likely that lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House will vote to set aside his resolution. This could still put some Democrats in a bad spot, as they will likely face pressure from outside liberal groups to vote against tabling the articles.
The House Judiciary Committee did not consider Green’s articles for floor debate, as it did when then-President Bill Clinton was impeached in in 1998.
However, after giving his speech, Green intentionally missed the window to formally introduce the measure, delaying it indefinitely.
Green, one of only a handful of Democrats publicly calling for impeachment, told reporters he pulled the resolution to give his colleagues “a chance to review it.”
“I want my colleagues do what their consciences dictates, as will I, and we’ll let history judge us all,” Green said.
He would not say when he plans bring the resolution back to the House floor, but promised he would.
If he had followed through, Green would have forced every Democrat in the House to put themselves on the record one way or another on impeachment. Many Democrats, including the party’s leadership, feel it’s far too early for that and worry a premature vote would be a lose-lose proposition.
A vote in favor of impeachment could make Democrats look like they’re overreaching and reflexively obstructionist, while a vote against could inflame the restive left flank of the party.
Also on Wednesday, progressive mega-donor Tom Steyer — who spent close to $100 million in the 2016 elections — wrote a letter to the campaign arm of House Democrats urging that the party’s 2018 congressional candidates run on impeachment.
“This is not a time for ‘patience,'” Steyer wrote. “I am asking you today to make public your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump and call for his removal from office.”
“I hope you will make your position clear so that Democratic voters who are under constant attack by this administration, know their elected representatives have the patriotism and political courage to stand up and take action,” added Steyer, who has long considered running for office himself.
Green, who said he was not aware of Steyer’s letter, declined to say if he had received any pressure from his party’s leadership to back down from the measure after his speech on the House floor, but said he had not been dissuaded ahead of time
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 11, 2017