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Congressman Brad Sherman has become the first to formally introduce an impeachment filing against President Donald Trump over his dealings with former FBI chief James Comey.
Amid mounting allegations of Russian involvement with the Trump campaign, the Los Angeles-area politician described the nation’s position as “dangerous” and said in a statement: “The evidence we have is sufficient to move forward now. And the national interest requires that we do so.”
While a president could not be impeached for “impulsive, ignorant incompetence”, noted Representative Sherman, he could for high crimes and misdemeanours.
“Recent disclosures by Donald Trump Jr indicate that Trump’s campaign was eager to receive assistance from Russia,” said Rep. Sherman.
“It now seems likely that the president had something to hide when he tried to curtail the investigation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the wider Russian probe.
“I believe his conversations with, and subsequent firing of, FBI director James Comey constitute obstruction of justice.”
Earlier this week, Mr Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr published an email chain revealing that he agreed to meet a Russian official who offered incriminating material about presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
The revelations came after months of scrutiny that saw Mr Trump’s critics accuse him of firing Mr Comey to suppress a probe into alleged Russian links to his campaign.
The US Constitution allows for a president to be impeached if articles alleging “treason, bribery high crimes and misdemeanours” to the House Judiciary Committee pass a simple majority vote.
Rep. Sherman’s bid is likely to fail since the House is currently controlled by the Republicans, and only one other Democrat – Texas Representative Al Green – has publicly said he supports impeachment.
Acknowledging that his filing was the first step on a long road, Rep. Sherman said he hoped that over the coming months Republicans would join the effort.
He also expressed hope that the filing could shock the White House into better behaviour, seeing “incompetency replaced by care”.
“Perhaps uncontrollable impulses will be controlled. And perhaps the danger our nation faces will be ameliorated,” he said.
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