A Democratic congressman has formally introduced articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, saying his presidency has fuelled an “alt-right hate machine that is causing immediate injury to American society”.
Al Green, who represents Texas’s ninth congressional district, took to the floor of the House to say Mr Trump’s actions were sufficient to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US constitution. The statute establishes a mechanism by which the Vice-President could take power if the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office.
“I rise today on behalf of the many who have concluded that enough is enough,” Mr Green said. “I do so understanding that I’m not doing it on behalf of Republicans, generally speaking, or Democrats, generally speaking.”
.@RepAlGreen says he didn't want vote on impeachment today bc he wants time for members to see text first. He may still force vote later— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) October 11, 2017
Earlier this year, Mr Green announced that he was drafting articles of impeachment that he planned to bring before the House. He first said he was planning such a move in May, in the aftermath of Mr Trump’s decision to fire his FBI Director James Comey.
“The question really is whether the president can obstruct justice with impunity,” Mr Green told a press conference he called a month later. “We live in a country where no congressmen, no senator, and not even the president of the United States of America is above the law.”
The Hill said that in his speech on the House floor on Thursday, Mr Green said that it was not necessary for Mr Trump to be convicted of a crime to be impeached.
He said Mr Trump’s response to neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, his attack on NFL players who had knelt in protest and his debunked claim that Barack Obama had wire-tapped him, had all undermined the integrity of the Oval Office and “brought disrepute on the presidency”.
Mr Green is not the first Democrat to have unveiled articles of impeachment. This summer, California congressman Brad Sherman also did so, claiming the President had obstructed justice by firing Mr Comey.
If Mr Green were to try and seek a vote on the issue, it could put many Democrats in a difficult position. Some will feel it is overreach, while those running in areas where Mr Trump did well may not want to alienate his supporters.
The impeachment of Mr Trump would require a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate – both of which are currently controlled by Republicans. Only two US presidents have ever been impeached by the House of Representatives, and both were later acquitted by the Senate.
Having delivered his speech, Mr Green stood back from trying to force his colleagues to vote on the issue, saying they needed more time to read his proposal.
“There will be a vote. But what I’ve done thus far would not call for a vote,” Mr Green told Politico. “This situation is very dynamic.”
He added: “Dr King was right. The truest measure of the person is not where you stand in times of comfort and convenience when everybody’s with you.
“I have accepted the fact that I may be standing alone and that I may receive criticism from contemporaries, but I also believe that I do what my conscience dictates.”