Politics

Democratic Rep. Sherman Drafts Article of Impeachment Against Trump

Article argues Trump obstructed justice in trying to hinder or terminate Flynn investigation

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., attends a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing about Russian interference in the 2016 election featuring testimony by former FBI Director James Comey on June 8, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Brad Sherman has drafted an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump that he plans to soon file and eventually raise for consideration on the House floor. 

The California Democrat’s article argues that Trump obstructed justice by using his authority as president to hinder or terminate a criminal investigation into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn. It cites Trump requesting then FBI director James Comey to curtail the bureau’s investigation into Flynn and then later terminating Comey and admitting that his main reason for doing so was related to the Russia investigation.

“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,” the article reads.

Sherman sat in the audience during Comey’s public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.

In a dear colleague letter, Sherman said he hopes the House Judiciary Committee would expeditiously consider the article, but if the panel does not take it up, he will offer a privileged motion on the House floor.

“At that point, I expect there will be a Motion to Table, thus triggering our first impeachment-related vote,” he said.

In a statement to Roll Call on when he plans to file the resolution and how long he would wait for the committee to act before pushing for a floor vote, Sherman said, “I am waiting for my colleagues to offer improvements and that will take a few days.  We have not determined a timeline regarding the Judiciary Committee.”

A floor vote is likely to fail, as few members have shown a willingness to call for Trump’s impeachment. Only Sherman and Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, have done so. However, other Democrats have expressed concern that Trump may have obstructed justice in asking Comey to drop the Flynn probe.

Sherman said in his dear colleague letter that while impeachment does not require violation of a criminal statue, he believes members would feel more comfortable moving forward with impeachment of Trump with evidence that he committed a crime. 

“As to Obstruction of Justice and §1512(b)(3), the evidence we have is sufficient to move forward now,” Sherman said. “And the national interest requires that we do so.”

Sherman acknowledged in a public statement that the chances of impeaching Trump are currently slim. 

“I have no illusions,” he said.  “Articles of Impeachment will not pass the House in the near future.  But given the risk posed to the Republic, we should move things forward as quickly as possible.”

Once filed, Sherman’s resolution would be the first article of impeachment introduced in the 115th Congress. In the previous Congress, Republicans had introduced resolutions calling for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and then Environmental Protection Agency administrator Regina McCarthy.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.