Could Trump be impeached?
Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) has plans to reintroduce resolutions to impeach President Donald Trump, accusing him of obstructing justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. He originally introduced articles of impeachment back in July of 2017, two months after President Trump fired FBI Director Comey. Sherman’s original proposition was tabled by a vote of 364-58 (the 58 votes all were Democrats).
Representative Sherman believes that since the Democrats have won back a majority in the House of Representatives, these articles of impeachment should be reintroduced. He told the Los Angeles Times, “Every member of the House will have to address [the issue] whether there are formal articles of impeachment pending.”
Representative Sherman’s proposal has not gained the seal of approval from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Speaker Pelosi has dismissed the idea of introducing articles of impeachment for the president, unless it was a bipartisan effort and, more importantly, as she said on PBS NewsHour “the evidence would have to be conclusive.” Moderate Democrats are weary of these resolutions and have expressed that pursuing impeachment could divide the party. More importantly, passing articles of impeachment in the House is only the first step, and the Republican-majority Senate would certainly block Democratic impeachment attempts.
FBI Director Comey was fired back in May of 2017 because President Trump felt that Comey had mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email servers. However, some do not believe that this was the true reason for Mr. Comey’s firing. They instead claim it was because of Comey’s interest in investigating the Russian meddling in the presidential election. This led to Mr. Comey testifying before Congress and speaking in great detail about his interactions with Donald Trump.
Whether or not it is prudent to impeach President Trump is a question that the American people have entrusted to Congress. The partisan divide on the issue of impeaching President Trump can be somewhat misguided. Publius, author of the Federalist Papers in Federalist 65, comments on the danger of faction-driven impeachment, “in such cases there will always be the greatest danger, that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstration of innocence or guilt.”
As Professor Greg Weiner notes in his New York Times op-ed “the object of impeachment is not to exact vengeance. It is to protect the public against future acts of recklessness or abuse.” Representative Sherman’s articles of impeachment will probably have no effect on Capitol Hill, unless strong, credible evidence could substantiate a claim that the president is directly injuring American society.
Katie Samalis, a senior, studies Political Science. She is a Copy Editor for Le Provocateur.