Posted On 17 Jul 2019
The House will vote on Wednesday on a resolution to impeach President Donald Trump, marking the first time the Democrat-controlled chamber has weighed in on the divisive issue.
It’s unclear whether the House will vote to send the resolution to committee, to table it — effectively killing the measure — or vote to proceed forward with it.
In addition, the House will vote Wednesday to hold U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for withholding information about the administration’s failed bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The House scheduled the vote after Barr and Ross withheld documents that had been subpoenaed by the Oversight and Reform Committee as part of its probe into origins of the now-scuttled citizenship question.
On impeachment, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, forced the vote by reading the articles of impeachment on Tuesday night; he told reporters a vote will happen Wednesday afternoon. A Democratic leadership aide confirmed to NBC News the vote would occur.
Green cited Trump’s recent racist remarks about four Democratic congresswoman of color, which the House voted to condemn yesterday, as cause for seeking his removal from office.
“President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimatized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color,” Green said Tuesday night on the House floor. “Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office.”
Green told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped the House would vote for impeachment, not to table or refer it to committee. He said “bigotry” qualified as a “high crime and misdemeanor,” incorrectly claiming that President Andrew Johnson was impeached for his bigotry. (Johnson warred with Congress over reconstruction and the rights for freed slaves, but was impeached for violating a law surrounding the appointment of Cabinet officials.)
Green rejected questions about whether he should hold on impeachment proceedings until after the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller next week.
“The Mueller testimony has nothing to do with his bigotry. Nothing. Zero. Nada,” Green said. “We cannot wait. As we wait, we risk having the blood of somebody on our hands — and it could be a member of Congress.”
Green has been gunning to impeach Trump for years — his latest effort is his third attempt. He most recently offered articles of impeachment when Republicans controlled the House back in January 2018, after the president derided immigrants from Haiti and some African countries. The House voted to table that resolution, with 121 Democrats joined 234 Republicans to effectively kill the measure.
More than 80 members of the House have called for opening an impeachment inquiry, but some Democratic leaders have resisted, fearing that it would distract from the party’s policy agenda, could rally Trump’s base, isn’t popular with the public and is doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that enthusiasm for impeachment may be waning: The July survey found 21 percent of registered voters say that there is enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings now. In June, 27 percent in the poll the same thing, a 6-point drop in one month — though that survey was of Americans, not registered voters.