Democrat vows to move forward with impeachment, dividing his party

 thehill.com  2/10/2019 3:30:08 PM 

House Democrats are facing the prospect of another floor vote on impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpRob Lowe mocks Warren over Native American ancestry claims Obama health official blasts Trump's physical exam: 'No doctor can predict someone’s future health' Trump makes Native American joke about Warren campaign announcement: 'See you on the campaign TRAIL' MORE, the first since they took control of the chamber.

Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenCiting Virginia race scandals, Dem vows vote to impeach Trump Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union MORE (D-Texas) announced this past week that he will call for a third vote on impeachment that is sure to divide Democrats.

He previously forced House floor votes in 2017 and 2018, under a GOP-held House, that put fellow lawmakers on the record about impeachment.

This would be the first time the House would vote on impeachment under a Democratic House, and a decision to not move forward would invite criticism.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire activist who has run nationwide ads urging Democrats to impeach Trump, has warned he’ll turn his fire on Democrats if they do not take action against the president.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiStars align for trade deal with China Pelosi goes viral again after appearing to recreate State of the Union clap with Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom O'Rourke rips Trump's 'lies' ahead of El Paso visit MORE (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems call for 'strategic investments' while touring southern border Leaders from both parties pay tribute to Dingell's life on House floor Citing Virginia race scandals, Dem vows vote to impeach Trump MORE (D-Md.), however, have long signaled caution on the issue.

It’s clear they’re worried about doing anything on impeachment that might end up boomeranging on Democrats and helping Trump and the GOP. Both were in Congress when Republicans impeached former President Clinton, an effort that undercut the House GOP at the time.

Green's argument, as with his past impeachment efforts, is that Trump should be impeached for inflaming racial tensions in America. He linked Trump to the political crisis in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is refusing to resign over a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page, and state Attorney General Mark Herring (D) has also admitted to once wearing blackface.

“I just wanted to make it clear that there's a necessity to do this because that behavior has infected the body politic to the extent that you have the behavior in the state of Virginia,” Green told The Hill.

House Democratic leaders and the majority of rank-and-file members are skeptical of pursuing impeachment before special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE completes his investigation. And Democratic leaders have taken pains to portray their investigative efforts of the Trump administration as serious and measured oversight.

Many Democrats therefore think that Green's effort feels premature.

“I don't think we have to go galloping into it. That we can take our time, analyze the situation, build the investigations and then make a determination,” Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) said of impeachment.

Davis, who like Green is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, appeared sympathetic to the effort to highlight Trump's inflammation of racial tensions. But he isn't eager to vote on impeachment at this point.

“I'm certainly not in disagreement with Al's attempt to raise the issue and keep it raised. But you know, if I had to vote right now, I wouldn't be ready to vote on it,” Davis said.

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyPatricia Arquette, Alyssa Milano rally for Equal Rights Amendment The legal scandal that no one is talking about Corporate diversity is just another misguided policy from Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, echoed a desire to wait for Mueller's probe before pursuing impeachment. 

“We want to wait for the Mueller commission. We've got to see what he says,” Maloney said. “We worked hard to create it, let's wait for him to do his work.”

Green says he sees no reason to wait for the outcome of the Mueller probe.

“I wanted to make very clear that the Mueller investigation, which has nothing to do with bigotry, is not going to be the acid test for whether or not we will have another vote,” Green said. 

He has yet to introduce a resolution with articles of impeachment against Trump and declined to offer a specific timeline. He said only that “so far I've kept my word and I'm going to keep my word on this.”

Even Democrats who supported Green's impeachment efforts in the past are skeptical of voting on it for a third time, however.

Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHillicon Valley: Dems ready to subpoena Trump Tower meeting phone records | Dems, Whitaker in standoff over testimony | Bezos accuses National Enquirer of 'extortion' | Amazon offers rules for facial recognition | Apple releases FaceTime fix Apple releases fix for FaceTime bug Trump’s AIDS turnaround greeted with skepticism by some advocates MORE (D-Ill.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, voted in support of both of Green's impeachment measures in the last session of Congress “to sort of give validity to the conversation.”

As for the latest effort, Schakowsky said, “I am skeptical of its real value” given that it wouldn't pass in the GOP-controlled Senate.

“It's definitely a real tool that I think may emerge as a winning idea in the not-too-distant future. This moment, probably not,” Schakowsky said. 

A total of 58 Democrats voted in favor of Green's first impeachment effort in December 2017. That number grew to 66 a month later, after Trump had described Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as “shithole countries” while expressing preference for immigrants from places like Norway.

One other House Democrat has already brought forward articles of impeachment since the new session of Congress began.

Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanTrump pick sets up fight over World Bank Pelosi puts tight grip on talk of Trump impeachment Bill Maher calls for impeachment of 'sick man' Trump: 'You have to go ahead and do it' MORE (D-Calif.) reintroduced his articles of impeachment on the first day of the new Congress last month, alleging that Trump had obstructed justice in the Russia investigation. Sherman initially unveiled his effort in 2017.

But other Democrats who called for impeachment in the last Congress haven't moved forward in the Democratic House. Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenFive takeaways from acting AG's fiery House hearing Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union MORE (D-Tenn.) has yet to reintroduce articles of impeachment that he pushed in the last session of Congress and said he wants to hold out for Mueller’s investigation.

“Those people, including myself, who think he’s committed impeachable offenses and should be impeached understand also the pragmatic politics of waiting for the report as proof to get more of the American public in agreement. Because you’ve got to have the American public on your side,” Cohen said recently. 

Green said that he had not consulted anyone in leadership or fellow colleagues about his latest impeachment effort. And he expressed no trepidation about moving forward without a majority in favor of his impeachment push, citing his lifelong experiences with racism.

“I lived through segregation. I drank from colored water fountains, I had to sit in the balcony at the movies, I had to sit at the back of the bus. My history has earned me the right to make this decision without consulting with anyone other than my belief that this problem, some 400 years old, has to be faced head-on,” Green said.

“I don't think I have to have anybody's permission after what I've gone through.”

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