Six progressive Democrat introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, asserting on Wednesday that the commander in chief has violated the Constitution. The articles target what they four House Democrats see as violations of the Emoluments Clause that prohibits government officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments, actions “undermining” the judiciary and freedom of the press, and the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
The effort is bound to be fruitless, beyond distracting the public and media from other concerns such as the economy and geopolitical threats. A majority in the House, and two-thirds majority in the Senate, would be needed to convict the president. To date, two other Democrats have filed articles of impeachment, but the latest effort introduced five new articles revolving around the theme that the president is somehow endangering the nation.
“Given the magnitude of the constitutional crisis, there’s no reason for delay,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the sponsor of the resolution. Joining him are Democratic Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), Al Green (Texas), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), John Yarmuth (Ky.) and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.).
According to Green, the impeachment clause “was drafted for a time such as this and a president such as this.” Last month, Green introduced his own impeachment articles that focused on accusations that Trump has contributed to racial and ethnic tensions. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) had also launched his own impeachment effort based on Trump’s firing of Comey. However, he not join Cohen’s effort, even though Cohen said there are others who will sign on “immediately or soon thereafter.” He did not name them.
In a response, the Republican National Committee (RNC) called the Democrats' move a "baseless radical effort" and said it will not distract the president. “House Democrats lack a positive message and are completely unwilling to work across the aisle, so instead they’ve decided to support a baseless radical effort that the vast majority of Americans disagree with," said RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens. "Republicans are focused on issues the middle class actually cares about, like cutting taxes and growing the economy,” he added.
Now is not the time
Reflecting divisions within their party, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip, have both vocally opposed impeachment, having said it is premature in light of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s election interference. "Do we disagree with the policies? We do. But disagreeing with the policies is not enough to overturn an election, a free and fair election," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. "There are a large number of Democrats that believe this president ought to be impeached, we have just a made a judgment that the facts aren’t there to pursue that," he said.
In an interview with POLITICO, Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) of Chicago warned that calls for impeachment does make Democrats more palatable to voters who pulled the lever for Trump last year. "We don't talk about and fight for the middle class like we are," he said. "We believe we're for them, but they don't — if they don't hear we're for them, then we got a problem." Edward-Isaac Dovere of POLITICO said Emanuel "thinks everyone in Washington is too focused on the crazy around Trump to see what's actually going on — and what's not."
"What are the facts that you would make a case on?" Pelosi said this week. "If you don't have that case, you're just participating in hearsay."
Cohen said that some Democrats simply “want Trump to hang himself, and think that we don’t need to help him.” He said, “But I think there are a great number of Democrats who think there have been impeachable offenses.” He added, “I think the majority of Democrats think that.”
Cohen said he told Pelosi in August of his intention to introduce impeachment articles in light of the president’s response to the outbreak of violence involving protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over Confederate monuments. Cohen, who is Jewish, said the attacks on black people and Jews in Charlottesville were, for him, too much. “I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ And [Pelosi] understands that,” he said.
Billionaire Tom Steyer, a big contributor to Democrats and environmentalist causes, is spending millions of dollars on national TV ads to push Democrats to join the impeachment effort. According to OpenSecrets.org, Steyer contributed over $91 million last year to Democrats and liberal causes. He has founded several websites targeting Trump. Among them are NeedToImpeach.com
History of Dems calling for impeachment
For the last three decades, Democrats have routinely called for impeachment of Republican presidents.
On May 1, 1981, thousands of protesters marched in Washington to denounce President Ronadl Reagan and his policies. At least two speakers at the event called for his impeachement.
In 1983, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) called for Reagan's impeachment on the grounds of "incompetence." He later called for Reagan's impeachment after the invasion of Grenada.
In 1984, Rep. Henry Gonzalez of Texas and six other Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach Reagan in 1987 over the Iran-Contra affair. In 1991, Gonzalez called for impeaching President George H.W. Bush impeached in 1991 over the Gulf War.
Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in 2004 that centered on the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, global warming. and the 2004 elections.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for Donald Trump's impeachment before his inauguration, while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) spoke about impeaching Trump even before the future president won the Republican nomination in June 2016.
UFOs, impeachment, and Donald Trump
Kucinich, a self-professed UFO-buf, who is now retired but still regularly consulted by establishment media, told Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel on Wednesday, "This is about the political process of the United States of America being under attack by intelligence agencies and individuals in those agencies." He added, "You have politicization of agencies that is resulting in leaks from anonymous, unknown people and the intention is to take down a president," he said. "Now, this is very dangerous to America. It's a threat to our republic. It constitutes a clear and present danger to our way of life."
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who sits on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, has warned against impeachment dreams. He recently said that calls for impeachment may "be perceived as an effort to nullify the election by other means."