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Democrats start impeachment proceedings against Trump

The Independent logo The Independent 8/06/2017 Clark Mindock

Democrats start impeachment proceedings against Trump © Reuters Democrats start impeachment proceedings against Trump

Two Democrats in Congress are drafting up articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, saying that the president’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey constitutes obstruction of justice.

Texas Representative Al Green, who has been one of the most outspoken proponents of impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump, was joined by California Representative Brad Sherman in announcing the long-shot bid.

“The question really is whether the president can obstruct justice with impunity,” Mr Green said during a press conference. “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.”

Mr Green says that Mr Trump’s actions are his primarily concern. Whatever Mr Comey might say during planned congressional testimony this week isn’t important to his rationale on impeachment, the congressman said in a statement released before his official announcement.

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Several other Democrats have indicated that impeachment could be possible if obstruction is proved, but most have held back from actually calling for the measure.

But the efforts to impeach the president don’t appear likely to be successful given the current makeup of Congress. While Mr Trump has historically low approval ratings among the public, Republicans control the House of Representatives that would be tasked with formally indicting the president.

If he were somehow impeached, removal from office also seems especially far-fetched right now: Republicans also control the Senate, where two-thirds of the members would need to vote in favour of pushing Mr Trump out of office.

Mr Comey is expected to testify before the Senate this week in what will be one of the most watched congressional hearings in modern times. Mr Trump fired the former FBI director last month, and has been criticised frequently for doing so. While the Trump administration initially cited Justice Department rationale for the ouster, Mr Trump later said that he had decided to fire Mr Comey on his own and said that the FBI’s Russia investigation played a part in that reasoning.

It was later revealed that Mr Trump had asked Mr Comey to pull back on his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. A draft of Mr Comey’s planned opening remarks confirms those allegations.

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