The Paperwork To Start Trump's Impeachment Has Officially Been Filed
On Wednesday, after three consecutive days of bombshell news regarding the Trump-Russia scandal, California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman filed an article of impeachment against President Trump. Sherman's filing accuses the president of obstruction of justice for his firing of former FBI director James Comey, an action he later acknowledged in a nationally televised interview he took while calling the Russian investigation a "made-up story."
This is the first time a member of Congress has officially filed an article of impeachment against Trump, a move White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denounced as "utterly and completely ridiculous and a political game at its worst," according to The Hill. The article of impeachment states as follows:
In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
The odds of Sherman's impeachment effort going anywhere are long in the extreme, at least for now. Despite the fact that Trump fired Comey in the midst of an major investigation into his own presidential campaign, and this week's revelation that his son Donald Trump Jr. responded positively to the notion of colluding with the Russian government to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign, the GOP congressional majority has shown little indication that they're considering any action against the administration.
Sherman is an 11-term Democratic representative, and a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He and Democratic representative Al Green have been talking about impeaching Trump for more than a month now, but this is the first official step in that process.
To make impeachment a reality, however, would require a majority vote in the House, where the Republicans currently hold a 46-seat advantage. As such, Democrats would need to draw 24 GOP votes to their side to get the 218 votes needed to impeach Trump, in what would be an epic and improbable legislative undertaking.
Merely impeaching Trump doesn't mean he'd be removed from office, either. The House voting to impeach means the Senate would hold a trial to consider removing him from office, and the threshold there is even more daunting. A president can only be removed when two-thirds of the Senate votes in the affirmative.
As it stands now, the Republicans hold an outright majority in the Senate, albeit by just two seats, which means the prospects of both impeachment and removal are about as remote as it gets. That could potentially change in the House when the 2018 midterm elections roll around, but a full Democratic takeover would be a very heavy lift even under ideal electoral circumstances.
But in the Senate, there aren't even enough GOP-controlled seats up for grabs in 2018 to theoretically give the Democrats a two-thirds majority. And even if there were, it'd be utterly implausible to believe they would win them all. As such, unless the GOP encounters some sort of moral, ethical, or political breaking point, Trump will remain overwhelmingly likely to serve out at least four years as president.