After just two months in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump has already proven to be a liability to the free world, keeping Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) up many nights wondering what the New York City real estate developer will do next.
However, the veteran Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member isn’t just losing sleep, she’s investigating the possibility of drafting articles of impeachment against the 45th president.
“High crimes and misdemeanors,” an animated Jackson Lee told a gathering of Black Press reporters, editors and publishers at Howard University last week.
She pointed to Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and the possible role that Russian officials played in distributing fake news stories and leaking, damaging emails that disrupted and derailed Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman to become the President of the United States.
“High crimes and misdemeanors” is a phrase used in Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution.
The statute states that, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), a non-profit, community-based group, working to educate young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society, the framers of the U.S. Constitution borrowed the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” from the English Parliament; the phrase was originally used to describe “grounds to impeach officials of the crown.”
The post on the CRF website continued: “Officials accused of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ were accused of offenses as varied as misappropriating government funds, appointing unfit subordinates, not prosecuting cases, not spending money allocated by Parliament, promoting themselves ahead of more deserving candidates, threatening a grand jury, disobeying an order from Parliament, arresting a man to keep him from running for Parliament, losing a ship by neglecting to moor it, helping ‘suppress petitions to the King to call a Parliament,’ granting warrants without cause, and bribery.
The CRF post noted that some of the charges were crimes, but others were not.
“The one common denominator in all these accusations was that the official had somehow abused the power of his office and was unfit to serve,” the CRF post said.
Jackson Lee said that the very fact that the FBI has acknowledged an investigation into Trump’s Russian ties should be enough. She also blasted Trump, for insinuating that Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, was “just another thug.”
“First, he spent five years trying to delegitimize Obama saying he wasn’t born here. Now, he lies and says the first Black president committed a felony, that he wiretapped him. That he’s just another thug,” Lee said, adding that the “government is under siege in Washington; this isn’t a government right now, it’s feigning to be one and it’s a place of havoc.”
Eddie Bernice Johnson, another Texas Democratic, said that the reality is that Democrats, currently, don’t have the votes for impeachment.
“But, I think about impeachment every single day,” Johnson added.
By Stacy M. Brown
Feature photo: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) expressed concerns about President Donald Trump’s potential ties to Russia. Jackson Lee spoke during a 2017 NNPA Black Press Week event at Howard University in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)