The first House Democrat to call for President Donald Trump's impeachment has urged his colleagues to consider the drastic measure amid reports that the president may have possibly obstructed justice by requesting former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (video below).
On May 17, Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor, USA Today reports.
"It's a position of conscience for me," Green said. "This is about what I believe. And this is where I stand. I will not be moved. The president must be impeached. ... No one is above the law and that includes the president."
On May 16, reports emerged that Comey had written an FBI memo detailing Trump personally requesting him in February to cease an investigation into Flynn, who was being probed for financial ties to both the Russian and Turkish governments.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Trump allegedly told Comey, according to The New York Times. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
The disclosure drew immediate criticism from both lawmakers and legal experts, prompting several to suggest that impeachment was now a possibility.
"When someone at the White House is telling someone at DOJ or the FBI to soft-pedal or abandon an investigation, that's when people start talking about obstruction," law professor Stephen Vladeck of University of Texas told Politico.
On May 15, Green began calling for Trump's impeachment before reports of the Comey memo had emerged. The Texas lawmaker cited Trump's disclosure that he had fired Comey partly because of the FBI investigation into his presidential campaign and his subsequent warning that he would release alleged audio recordings of their private conversations as grounds for impeachment.
Green stated that a House vote to impeach Trump would merely be the start of a long process.
"A good many people assume that impeachment means that the president will be found guilty," Green said during a news conference, according to KHOU. "It does not. Impeachment is the genesis of the process. The revelation are likely to be revealed in the Senate and that's where the trial actually takes place."
At the time, associate political science professor Dr. David Branham of UH-Downtown expressed skepticism that initiating impeachment proceedings in the House would amount to any concrete action against the president, citing the GOP-majority in both chambers of Congress.
"There's almost no way that President Trump will be impeached," Branham said. "What you basically need is every Democrat to vote for impeachment and then 23 more Republicans to vote for impeachment. So just getting it out of the House right now, I think, is a real longshot."
On May 17, one House Republican signaled support for impeaching Trump if the Comey memo was verified.
Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan stated during a House GOP conference that if it was proven Trump had asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, then that would be grounds for impeachment, The Hill reports.
"But everybody gets a fair trial in the country," Amash added.