The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A black congressman called for Trump’s impeachment. Lynching threats followed, he said.

Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) called for President Trump's impeachment on May 17, saying "we believe that no one is above the law." (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Melina Mara//The Washington Post)

U.S. Rep. Al Green said the phone calls came in not long after he called for the impeachment of President Trump.

“Hey, Al Green, we got an impeachment for you. It’s going to be yours,” one caller said. “Was actually gonna give you a short trial before we hang your n—– ass.”

“You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree,” another one said. “I didn’t see anybody calling for the impeachment of your n—– Obama when he was born in Kenya. He’s not even an American. So f— you, n—–.”

Green, who is black, said the messages followed his criticism of Trump for firing former FBI director James B. Comey. The seven-term Democrat from Texas played recordings of the two voice mails, which appear to have come from male callers, during a town hall meeting in Houston on Saturday.

Green said he wanted his constituents to “decide for yourself what we’re dealing with.”

“It does not deter us,” Green said, the Houston Chronicle reported. “We are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to allow this to cause us to deviate from what we believe to be the right thing to do, and that is to proceed with the impeachment of President Trump.”

Police officers were present at the town hall, and attendees had to go through a security check, according to the Chronicle.

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It’s unclear whether there is a police investigation of the calls, though hate crime charges are not likely. The FBI defines hate crimes as crimes committed based on a bias against a person’s race, color, religion or national origin. But for a crime to exist, there must an accompanying act of violence, such as murder, arson or vandalism.

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“Hate itself is not a crime — and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties,” according to the FBI’s website.

It’s also unclear how many calls Green received, but the Chronicle reported that they were made to his offices in Houston and Washington.

The Washington Post was unable to reach Green on Sunday.

Green went on the House floor Wednesday and made the case for impeaching Trump for allegedly trying to obstruct an investigation into possible Russian ties to his campaign. He said he does so “with a heavy heart” and “a sense of responsibility.”

He said the tumultuous past weeks in the Trump administration justify his call for impeachment.

“Mister Speaker, our democracy is at risk. Mister Speaker, this has occurred before our very eyes. It is perspicuous,” Green said, adding later: “We cannot allow this to go unchecked. The president is not above the law … I am a voice in the wilderness, but I assure you that history will vindicate me.”

He was one of a number of congressional Democrats who talked about such actions, though others wanted to focus on the investigation.

Trump fired Comey this month. Comey was heading a counterintelligence investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The White House initially said Trump relieved Comey in response to recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who wrote in a memo that Comey mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Trump later contradicted his aides and told NBC’s Lester Holt that firing Comey had been his decision all along. The president said he fired the FBI director because of the investigation of Russia, which he dismissed as “a made-up story.”

Several White House officials told The Post that Trump directed Sessions and Rosenstein to explain in writing the case against Comey.

A few days after the dismissal, Trump suggested on Twitter that there may be “tapes” of conversations in which he said Comey told him that he was not under investigation. Critics, including Green, view the president’s tweet as a threat to the man investigating Trump’s campaign associates. White House press secretary Sean Spicer denied that the tweet was meant to intimidate.

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The New York Times reported last week that Comey had kept a detailed account of a private meeting with Trump in February. In describing Comey’s notes to The Post, associates of the former director said Trump asked him to drop the probe into Michael Flynn in the wake of the former national security adviser’s resignation.

The notes raised new questions about whether Trump may have stepped into the realm of criminal behavior by urging the FBI to end an investigation. Comey has agreed to testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee. A date will be set after Memorial Day.

Green, a 69-year-old former trial lawyer, represents Texas’s 9th Congressional District. He was first elected to the House in 2004.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) sits next to Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi (C) and speaks to U.S. President Donald Trump (R) as they attend a G7 expanded session during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)


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