US congressman Sherman first to file impeachment article against Trump

With Rep. Brad Sherman's becoming the first House member to submit an impeachment article against US President Donald Trump, legal and ethical questions surface.

July 13, 2017 10:44
3 minute read.
Donald Trump

Donald Trump. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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US Congressman Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, on Wednesday became the first House member to introduce an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The article is not expected to gain much support as the House is controlled by Republicans.

Sherman filed the article in light of the circumstances surrounding Trump's firing of former FBI director James Comey, which the congressman said constituted an obstruction of justice.

In an interview with CNN on July 10, Sherman said that "When you look into these facts" [described by previous FBI director James Comey in his testimony] "they fit very closely with the obstruction of justice status." 

Comey described a conversation held in private in which Trump referred to Comey's desire to keep his job and an expressed request to not look further into the conduct of former White House National Security adviser Michael Flynn and his connections to Russian ambassador to the US Sergy Kislyak.

Comey was eventually dismissed, which he claims was the result of his refusal to comply with the indirect requests which he says were made to him by a sitting president.

The FBI investigation is still ongoing, and another one is being conducted by the Pentagon inspector general regarding Flynn's acceptance of funds from foreign governments.

In an interview to Fox news on Thursday, Sherman said that his impeachment article is not related to the question of weather or not the supposed obstruction of justice was actually carried out by Comey.

"Ineffective obstruction of justice is a crime," he insisted, explaining that, in his view, the obstruction happened twice. Once when Trump supposedly threatened to fire Comey and once when he was actually fired, as both actions were meant to put a stop to an ongoing investigation.   

A long time supporter of the unique role of Israel in American foreign policy, Sherman worked alongside Republicans to submit a request for funds to build a future US-Israel Center for dialogue and technology transfer in the energy sector. He had also reasoned Israelis should be eligible to enter the US without having to file requests to obtain visas.

The Democratic Party is far from united regarding the question of impeaching a sitting president which so far had been able to excite and vitalize so many of his supporters across wide swaths of the American public.

Many Americans, including Democrats who remember the Clinton years, might resent a legalistic maneuver against a democratically elected president. Seeing it not as defending the country but as an offense against the expressed will of the American people and the election process at work.

When asked what chance his article has to win the confidence of a Republican-majority House, Sherman said that he hopes that the article will at the very least "trigger an intervention in the White House" regarding American foreign policy and what he called an impulsive government.

Only one House member has supported the article so far, Texan Democrat Al Green, who called from the House floor to impeach president Trump in May. 

Other Democrats, like Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass) said that Sherman's effort could hurt their own party. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said that a "discussion about impeachment is not timely.”

Trump has not yet responded to the impeachment article directly but he did tweet on Thursday that "The White House is functioning perfectly... I have very little time for watching T.V."

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