Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) set off the impeachment bomb in the House Tuesday evening when he formally submitted articles of impeachment against Donald Trump over the misgivings of House leadership and some of his Democratic colleagues.
According to the New York Times, the move came hours after the House, during a raucous session pitting Democrats against Republicans, moved to formally condemn as racist Trump’s recent attack on the four progressive House members informally known as “the Squad,” in which he said they should “go back” to wherever they came from if they didn’t like the direction the country was going under his administration.
Following that vote, on Tuesday night, Green took to the House floor to formally enter articles of impeachment against Trump, citing his “go back” vitriol as an example of the kind of “high misdemeanor[s]” Trump has committed while in office.
As the Washington Post reports, Green, in his resolution introducing the articles, said:
“Donald John Trump has, by his statements, brought the high office of the President of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute, has sown discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be President, and has betrayed his trust as President of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office,” Green read from his resolution on the House floor Tuesday night.
Green’s move will force House Democrats to deal with the issue in the near term because of the privileged nature of the resolution. Under House rules, Democratic leadership can decide to try to table the impeachment articles, effectively killing them for now and risk criticism from the party’s liberal base; refer them to the House Judiciary Committee for possible consideration; or allow the vote to proceed.
If leaders do nothing, Green can force a vote on the impeachment articles in two legislative days.
On Tuesday, prior to Green’s move, Democrats appeared wary of putting impeachment on the floor at this time.
“Look, if he brings it, I’m going to vote for it. Do I think that’s the most strategic thing right now, without a game plan? Who knows,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) told CNN.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was cagey with reporters as to what she would ultimately decide regarding Green’s move. However, Democratic leadership told the Washington Post she would probably refer the articles to the House Judiciary Committee or table them—though doing so may cause major dissent among the party.
“We haven’t really discussed how to dispose of it,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN regarding Green. “I’m not gonna try to discourage him, you know, he has to do what he thinks is right.”
Tuesday’s declaration isn’t the first time Green has moved to impeach Trump, making similar efforts in December 2017 and January 2018, but both times, the efforts were tabled by what was then a GOP-controlled House, CNN explains.
Despite his Democratic colleagues’ reluctance on the issue, Green tells CNN, impeaching Trump is a must.
“I believe if we don’t do this, the president will only intensify his ugly behavior,” Green said. “It just seemed to me that we should bring these articles before the House of Representatives so that we could not only condemn him, but impeach him so that he will understand that there are some boundaries.”