Representative Al Green is making good on his calls to impeach President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, the Houston Democrat said he will soon begin drafting articles of impeachment, a move Green says is justified by Trump's dismissal of FBI director James Comey while the FBI was actively investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to a press release from Green’s office.
In the announcement, Green describes Comey's firing as “obstruction of justice.” Regardless of how the investigation turns out, Green argues, it was inappropriate for Trump to sack Comey while that FBI probe, which is also looking into Trump and his associates, is ongoing.
“Obstruction of justice by the President is the problem,” Green says in the statement. “Impeachment by Congress is the solution.”
Democrats have floated the idea of impeaching Trump since he entered the White House without disentangling himself from his extensive business interests, to the dismay of ethics experts. But this latest saga appears to be the first time a Democratic politician is actually acting on these threats.
So far, a few rank-and-file Democratic colleagues of Green, including Houston Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Brad Sherman of California, have joined Green's push. Democratic leaders in Congress, though opposed to Trump, have not called for his ouster.
Green has been talking about impeachment for weeks, despite receiving racist death threats. In May, he took to the House floor to make his intentions clear.
“I do not do this for political purposes,” he said in that House speech, from May 17. “I do because, Mr. Speaker, there is a belief in this country that no one is above the law — and that includes the President of the United States of America.”
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“Our democracy is at risk,” he added.
In at least one important sense, Green’s move is in fact political: There’s almost no chance he’ll succeed.
To remove a president, articles of impeachment need to receive a majority vote in the House of Representatives and a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Republicans maintain control over both chambers, and a president has never been removed from office by Congress.
That means that, even if every Democrat supported impeachment, the move would still fail. Barring a wild plot twist — something that seems increasingly plausible after weeks of chaos in Washington — Green will not get the votes he needs.