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Texas Democrat Al Green is calling for a House vote this afternoon on two articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Don’t expect the effort to succeed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer have told Democrats that they plan on voting to table the motion. In other words, voting to make sure the bill doesn’t get a vote.
Green’s motion comes in the wake of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump and his 2016 campaign. But, notably, the two articles have nothing to do with that ongoing investigation.
Instead, Green’s impeachment articles focus on divisive statements and actions Trump has taken, including his defense of racist protests and violence in Charlottesville, Va.; derisive comments about National Football League national anthem protests, and recent retweets of videos posted by a far-right nationalist British group, among other things.
“The question isn’t whether we have a bigot as President, the question is: what are we going to do about it?” Green wrote this week in a letter to other House Democrats. “The answer is: impeachment for his high misdemeanors, which need not be a crime.”
Green goes on to argue in the letter that “impeachment is a political remedy, not a judicial remedy, thus it may be a high misdemeanor, which may or may not be a crime.”
He cites the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, which has been viewed historically as an overtly partisan act.
Green’s step widens a growing rift within the Democratic Party and its progressive base: whether or not to publically call for the impeachment of an unpopular president at the center of an ongoing criminal investigation. And, if so, at what volume and urgency to call for that impeachment.
Most House Democrats want nothing to do with impeachment efforts right now, and worry publically backing them as the Mueller investigation continues would make any eventual impeachment push look partisan.
“Electing a president of the United States is the most important act American citizens take in setting the policies of their country. That should not be overturned except for the most egregious and demonstrable facts,” Hoyer recently told reporters. “Do we disagree with [Trump’s] policies? We do. But disagreeing with the policies is not enough to overturn an election – a free and fair election – of the American people.”
At the same time, a growing number of Democratic voters and activists appear ready to not only call for impeachment now, but to make that call a central part of the 2018 midterm election. California Democratic megadonor and activist Tom Steyer has sunk at least $10 million into an online petition effort urging Trump’s impeachment. He’s already gathered more than 3.3 million signatures.
“Impeachment is really about a president breaking his trust with the Constitution, with the American people,” Steyer told NPR.
Steyer is running glossy national television ads on cable to promote the effort, raising questions of whether he’s using the impeachment push to raise his profile ahead of a run for office.
“The criteria has already been met” for impeachment, Steyer contended, citing Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey – and Comey’s testimony that Trump had asked the director to “go easy” on Flynn. He added, “The other thing that’s going on though is not just whether he has met the criteria to be impeached, but also the huge threat that he presents to the American people, which means why there’s the urgency for us to act. And that’s what we’re really trying to do. We’re trying to give Americans a voice where they say ‘this president is a threat to us.'”
Green introduced the resolution on the House floor at 12:15. The House will vote on it later Wednesday afternoon.
See below for a summary from Green’s office of the articles he’s introducing:
Summary of Articles of Impeachment
Article I – Associating the Presidency with White Nationalism, Neo-Nazism and Hatred
· Donald J. Trump issued a public statement characterizing anti-Semites, bigots, racists, white nationalists, and Ku Klux Klansmen who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia as “very fine people.”
· Donald J. Trump did not issue a public statement when these hate groups returned to Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “You will not replace us!” He did, however, issue several statements related to players in the National Football League exercising their constitutionally protected right to protest.
· Donald J. Trump shared three videos from a British right-wing extremist that purported to show various violent acts committed by Muslims. The videos were found to be inaccurately titled and characterized.
Article II – Inciting Hatred and Hostility
· Donald J. Trump issued Executive Order 13769, which caused a partial shutdown of immigration from Muslim countries.
· Donald J. Trump issued a public statement that transgender individuals are banned from serving in the United States military.
· Donald J. Trump made a public statement referring to professional football players as “sons of bitches,” therefore denigrating them and their mothers, for exercising their constitutionally protected right to protest.
· Donald J. Trump made a public statement that after being devastated by a Category 4 and Category 5 hurricane, Puerto Ricans “…want everything done for them when it should be a community effort,” inciting racial tensions around the stereotype that people of color need or want handouts.
· Donald J. Trump made a public statement that after being devastated by a Category 4 and Category 5 hurricane in one week, Puerto Ricans had “…thrown our budget a little out of whack.” Similar statements were not made by Mr. Trump about Texas or Florida, which were also devastated by hurricanes in September 2017.
· Donald J. Trump issued a public statement referring to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), a female, African-American Member of Congress as “wacky” and called her a liar.
· Donald J. Trump issued a public statement referring to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), a female, African-American Member of Congress as “wacky” a second time.
· Donald J. Trump issued a public statement referring to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), a female, African-American Member of Congress as “wacky” a third time.