On July 12, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., introduced an article of impeachment. The representative accused President Trump of obstruction of justice and alleging that he interfered with the ongoing federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, also signed into the bill. Sherman said he will now begin trying to «force the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on Obstruction of Justice and Russian interference in our election». Democratic leaders have distanced themselves from the effort. The lawmaker admitted that filing the article is «the first step on a very long road».
Two US presidents in US history - Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 - were impeached in the House but then acquitted in the Senate to remain in office. Articles of impeachment were passed against Richard Nixon by a congressional committee, but the President had resigned to avoid the impeachment before the House of Representatives could vote on the matter. Technically he was not impeached. 50% of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate must agree to remove a president from office. There are plenty of ways to frustrate and delay an impeachment process till a tenure is over.
The move comes a day after Donald Trump Jr. released an email chain showing that he had been warned about the «Russian support» for the Trump campaign. According to him, he met with a Russian lawyer with alleged «ties to the Kremlin» who was offering damaging information to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
The resolution is a long shot. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md), the Democratic whip, said that a «discussion about impeachment is not timely». The move has little chance of gaining much support as long as Republicans control the Congress, but the situation may change as time goes by. The fact is the Congress is in impeachment territory from now on.
According to Fortune, PaddyPower, an Ireland-based betting site, has seen more users placing bets on President Trump being impeached before the end of his first term, bringing the site's total odds of the President being shuffled out of the White House by 2021 up to 60% - the highest it’s ever been, according to company spokesperson Lee Price. The PaddyPower bettors are betting on President Trump being impeached as soon as this year, bringing those odds up to 33.3%.
46% of Americans who responded to a Public Policy Polling survey in February supported the idea of impeachment. It matters because lawmakers’ votes often depend on opinion polls. With each scandalous story hitting headlines, the prospects of a Trump ouster are on the rise as well as the risk of reputational damage to the Republican Party.
According to Gallup, Trump sits at 38% approval, 20-some points behind the historical average for first-term presidents. Nevertheless, even if he loses some of his base, or the Democrats retaking the House or the whole Congress, it wouldn’t be enough to surmount that challenging two-thirds barrier in the Senate.
It is unlikely that Republicans would pursue impeachment proceedings against a president of their own party, particularly with midterm elections a little over a year away. But before taking a stance on the issue lawmakers will have to take into consideration voters’ sentiments. The disposition of Republican voters is a decisive factor. If they turn on President Trump, the Republicans in Congress will follow to get the president they really want – Mike Pence. Today, Trump retains significant support among GOP voters and the party’s base but it’s hard to predict as yet if the idea of impeachment will by backed by Republican voters in the upcoming 2018 midterm election.
Media will play an important role. Almost every day something happens to make President Trump vulnerable for attacks. The enemy fires high precision salvos from strongly fortified positions. Moles in government agencies leak information to media, pouring more fuel to the fire. Any mishap is blown out of proportions to be painted as an irreparable blunder.
And going to the bottom of it? With all the hue and cry raised over the president’s ties with Russia and its leadership, nothing really serious has surfaced so far. The recent hullaballoo about Donald Trump Jr. meeting some Russia lawyer just to hear out of curiosity what she had to say is not a big thing. It was inconsequential anyway. But it hits headlines.
Russia-Trump «collusion» stories are circulated over and over again to turn the White House into a besieged fortress. The assault is unprecedented. One anti-Trump story is followed by another to create an impression that the president is not capable of doing his job, which is certainly not the case.
The information war has divided the US into two irreconcilable camps. Tensions are running high. With all the scandalous stories, investigations and impeachment articles filed, Congress has no time for key reforms, the bills that really matter for the United States. It all obstructs the normal functioning of the executive and legislatives branches of power damaging the national interests.
Cooperation in Syria the US and Russian presidents agreed on in Hamburg, as well as talks aimed at achieving at least some progress on arms control, meet the interests of Russia and the United States. But the Congress and the anti-Trump media have created a situation in which no progress is possible. It’s like shooting oneself in the foot. Even if the stories spread around by the media were true and Russia really did all the things it is blamed for, the damage would be minor in comparison with the losses America suffers as anti-Trump forces make the president dysfunctional and unable to keep the promises he gave to the people who elected him.