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Democratic Rep. Al Green says he will force House impeachment vote

Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) speaks to media in Houston on May 15, 2017 about his call for the impeachment of President Trump. (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

House lawmakers will take their first vote on whether to impeach President Trump this week if a Texas Democrat follows through on plans he announced to colleagues Tuesday.

Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) said in a memo to fellow lawmakers that he planned to bring articles of impeachment to the House floor Wednesday as a “privileged resolution,” one that would be entitled to a vote within two days under House rules.

Green has discussed impeaching Trump since the spring and previously filed impeachment articles in October, nearly forcing a vote at that time before House Democratic leaders persuaded him to temporarily abandon the effort. Now Green says the time has come for his colleagues to weigh in.

In his memo circulated Tuesday, Green shared information on the impeachment process, the history of impeachment efforts and the nature of his charges.

“I trust that the information and resources provided below will allow you to make the best possible decision for yourself, your district and for our nation,” he wrote. “As I have said before, this is not about Democrats, it is about democracy. It is not about Republicans, it is about the fate of our Republic. May everyone vote their conscience knowing that history will judge us all.”

The impeachment resolution Green circulated Tuesday does not include any allegations of obstruction of justice or other alleged crimes connected to his 2016 presidential campaign or the pending investigations into connections to Russia. It does detail Trump’s dalliances with the far right — including his failure to quickly denounce the white-nationalist marchers in Charlottesville — and his recent tweeting of anti-Muslim videos circulated by a British extremist group, as well as public acts and statements denigrating various groups and individuals.

In a separate letter, Green called impeachment a “political remedy, not a judicial remedy” and said Trump’s behavior as a “bigot in the White House who incites hatred and hostility” constitutes a “high misdemeanor” worthy of impeachment.

“For too long, we have allowed our civility to prevent us from confronting the invidious incivility of President Donald J. Trump,” he wrote. “In doing this, hatred disguised as acceptable political correctness has festered in our body politic and polluted our discourse to our detriment. It divides and damages the social fabric of our country in ways that obstruction of justice cannot. It causes unparalleled destruction to our society in the long- and short-term that will not easily heal.”

Green’s resolution poses no threat to Trump. Republicans, who have the House majority, are expected to quickly vote to table the resolution, and many Democrats could join them. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has moved to quell any rank-and-file calls for Trump’s impeachment, calling instead for the completion of the ongoing investigations being pursued by congressional committees and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. A senior Democratic aide said Tuesday that Pelosi’s position has not changed.

There are political concerns as well: Voting on Green’s resolution could force Democrats to walk a fine line between placating fervently anti-Trump voters and accommodating moderate voters who might not see any reason for action before the investigations are complete.

“Members don’t want this vote,” one Democratic aide said in October, when Green first floated his plan.