Democrat Al Green Filed Impeachment Articles Against Trump—What Happens Now?

July 17, 2019, 5:29 PM UTC

Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green brought forth articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday night following the president’s attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color on Twitter over the weekend.

Green has unsuccessfully pushed the House to vote to impeach the president multiple times since 2017. An earlier version of his measure introduced in December 2017 was backed by nearly 60 Democrats, but later killed by Republicans.

Green said his newest measure was prompted by the president’s attacks on Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, in addition to statements Trump has made about immigrants and following the deadly white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

“Donald John Trump by causing such harm to the society of the United States is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office,” Green said on the House floor Tuesday night, while reading from his impeachment measure.

He added that Trump “has, by his statements, brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute.”

The House of Representatives likewise passed a resolution to condemn Trump’s tweets Tuesday night, which received overwhelming Democratic support, 240–187. Only four Republicans voted in favor of the resolution: Reps. Will Hurd (TX), Fred Upton (MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), and Susan Brooks (IN), as well as newly independent Rep. Justin Amash (MI).

The resolution states that the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’ to other countries.”

It’s been more than a century since Congress has offered a formal condemnation of a sitting president. However, the resolution is non-binding and therefore Trump will not likely face any concrete consequences for his Twitter tirade.

For some Democrats, it’s not enough. Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen said Thursday that the House should censure Trump for his tweets. Green also said the party should take further action.

“To condemn a racist President is not enough, we must impeach him,” Green said in a statement. “This will be a defining vote. The world is watching, and history will judge us all.”

Green’s impeachment resolution is privileged, meaning it would require action within two days, but it is not likely to succeed. Instead, Democrats could table the measure indefinitely or refer it to the House Judiciary Committee.

The Democratic Party has been at odds over opening impeachment proceedings against the president.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been a vocal critic of the president, said earlier this year that lawmakers should go on the record with their positions on impeachment.

Following the release of former Special Counsel report Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Warren said: “If there are people in the House or the Senate who want to say that’s what a president can do when a president is investigated for his own wrongdoings … then they should have to take that vote and live with it for the rest of their lives.”

House leaders would prefer to avoid a vote on the matter.

When asked whether she supported Green’s impeachment articles, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “No I don’t. Does that come as any surprise?”

Pelosi has long resisted efforts to open an impeachment inquiry, arguing that it would be politically divisive, and that voters should decide in the 2020 election whether or not Trump remains in office. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has expressed similar concerns and said he fears impeachment will “tear the country apart.”

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