Democrat files first resolution to impeach President

WASHINGTON • A Democratic congressman has become the first US lawmaker to formally file an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, but the effort is likely to stall in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Democrat Brad Sherman of California on Wednesday followed through on a threat he made last month, filing a four-page resolution aimed at "impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanours".

In a statement, Mr Sherman said Mr Trump's apparent effort to quash a probe into his campaign's ties to Russia and an investigation of a senior aide amounted to obstruction of justice. "Recent disclosures by Donald Trump Jr indicate that Trump's campaign was eager to receive assistance from Russia," Mr Sherman said.

"It now seems likely that the President had something to hide when he tried to curtail the investigation of (now-fired) national security adviser Michael Flynn and the wider Russian probe," he added.

"I believe his conversations with, and subsequent firing of, FBI director James Comey constitute obstruction of justice."

The White House reacted with disdain when asked about Mr Sherman's move.

"I think that is utterly and completely ridiculous and a political game at its worst," White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Mr Sherman said his effort used language similar to that of the first article of impeachment issued against the late former US president Richard Nixon, which passed the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974.

Mr Nixon resigned from office 13 days later.

So far, a single lawmaker, Democrat Al Green, has signed on to the resolution.

While a number of Republicans have rebuked Mr Trump or expressed concern over various stumbles, there is no signal from either the House of Representatives or the Senate that their Republican leaders are prepared to begin impeachment proceedings.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Democrat files first resolution to impeach President'. Print Edition | Subscribe