Rep. Brad Sherman is threatening to buck his party leadership and force a floor debate on impeaching President Donald Trump.
Sherman, who is circulating a draft article of impeachment against the president, announced his plans in a letter to his colleagues Monday afternoon.
The California Democrat said if his resolution doesn’t receive consideration by the House Judiciary Committee, he’ll take his effort a step further and bring it up as a privileged motion on the House floor.
“At that point, I expect there will be a motion to table, thus triggering our first impeachment-related vote,” Sherman wrote in the letter.
Of course, the vote wouldn’t actually be on the article of impeachment but rather a procedural vote on whether to set aside Sherman’s push to debate the issue. Democrats have employed similar procedural moves this year to force debate about Trump’s tax returns on the House floor.
But the move, if Sherman follows through, would fly in the face of efforts by House Democratic leaders to quell impeachment talk coming from the rank-and-file.
About a dozen House Democrats have brought up the idea of impeaching Trump, with Sherman and Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) taking the most drastic action so far, announcing last week they were drafting impeachment articles.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats have said any talk of removing the president from office is beyond premature at this point.
Privately, leadership aides say they fear the chatter distracts from ongoing Democratic efforts to paint Republicans as incompetent and could have a significant long-term impact by alienating swing voters heading into the midterms.
Sherman, in a statement to POLITICO, said he still hasn’t made up his mind about whether to force a floor vote on the issue.
“That is three hypotheticals from now, but I will listen to the arguments of all of my colleagues as I have tremendous respect for their opinions,” Sherman said.
Democratic aides say there’s no way to stop him if he chooses to move forward but leaders would obviously rather not publicly confront the issue right now. Green, who joined Sherman in a press conference last week, has not signed onto the impeachment draft.
The draft article of impeachment circulated by Sherman Monday accuses Trump of breaking the law by attempting to interfere with the FBI’s investigation into Russian collusion.
Sherman said Trump urging then-FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and later firing Comey after he refused to do so are clear examples of the president obstructing justice.
Comey testified under oath last week that Trump said he “hoped” the bureau would end its probe into Flynn, a statement Comey said he took as a directive from the president.
“I believe that Trump’s use of threats to obstruct the ongoing criminal investigations of Michael Flynn clearly violate [the law],” Sherman said in his letter. “Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation of his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia violated the same statute.”