House Dem pulls back from forcing impeachment vote

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Rep. Al GreenAl GreenDem postpones unveiling impeachment measure after Vegas shooting Dem lawmaker: Black Americans shouldn’t go to White House until Trump apologizes for NFL attacks Let Trump say what he wants — the president has a right to free speech MORE (D-Texas) stopped short of forcing a vote Wednesday on articles of impeachment against President Trump, but insisted his push isn’t over yet.

Green announced his intention on the House floor to offer the impeachment articles as a privileged resolution, which under House rules allows any member to force a vote within two legislative days.

The GOP presiding officer moved to consider Green’s resolution less than an hour later, but Green didn’t show up, allowing the window for consideration to pass for now.

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Green could have forced a procedural vote to challenge the GOP’s ruling, which would have served as the first vote in Congress related to impeaching Trump.

But he decided not to, saying he wanted his colleagues and the public to review the articles of impeachment first. 

“I want my colleagues to have a chance to review it and I want the American people to get some sense of what’s going on,” Green told reporters just off the House floor.

The four articles of impeachment unveiled by Green say Trump has “has undermined the integrity of his office with impunity” and “brought disrepute on the presidency,” but do not argue that the president has committed a crime.

Instead, the articles state that Trump is “fueling an alt-right hate machine” that is “causing immediate injury to American society;” brought “shame and dishonor to the office of the presidency by associating the majesty and dignity of the presidency with causes rooted in white supremacy;” engaged in deceit by making the false claim that three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election; and encouraged police brutality during a July speech to law enforcement.  

Democratic leadership was not informed in advance that Green was going to unveil the articles of impeachment on Wednesday, an aide said. Green first announced his plans in late September to file articles of impeachment and force a vote, but had not indicated the precise timing.

Green wouldn’t specify when he might try to force a vote.  

“I will not indicate when, but I will indicate that it will be brought up,” Green said.

House Democratic leaders and most of the rank-and-file have made clear they’re not interested in voting to impeach Trump at this point, even though they’re hardly fans of his.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said it’s premature to consider impeachment and that Democrats should wait for the investigations of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to conclude.

Impeachment proceedings would normally begin in the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings and vote on articles to send to the full House for consideration.

Green is the second House Democrat to unveil articles of impeachment. In July, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced an article of impeachment alleging that Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing James Comey as FBI director amid the agency’s investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election. 

Green remains the only co-sponsor of Sherman’s article of impeachment.

Sherman had suggested over the summer that he might try to force a vote on impeachment using the same process as Green. But he faced pushback from Democratic leaders and other rank-and-file members at the time who warned it could backfire.

A vote on impeachment would be more awkward for Democrats than Republicans.

Most rank-and-file Democrats, even the fiercest Trump critics, think impeachment would look like an overreach at this stage. 

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said he’s defended Green, a close friend since the 1980s, to other colleagues who don’t want to vote on impeachment. Yet Cleaver said he would likely not support Green’s measure, citing a desire to wait for FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“It will come of no shock to him that I’m going to vote against it. I mean, if we have to vote,” Cleaver said. 

Centrist Democrats, particularly those in districts Trump won, would also have to worry about potentially alienating Trump supporters with an impeachment vote.

“We have an old saying in the country, ‘Don’t let the cart ahead before the horse,’” said Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), one of 12 Democrats representing a district that Trump carried in 2016.

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