In Depth

Democrats introduce articles of impeachment against Donald Trump - will they bring the US President down?

Washington may not like using the word, but with six Democrats out to get him, the US President could be in trouble

Six Democrats have launched a bid to impeach Donald Trump.

The politicians, who sit in the House of Representatives, introduced five articles of impeachment against the US President on Wednesday. Among the claims, they accuse him of: obstruction of justice over his decision to fire former FBI director James Comey in May, while he was investigating ties between Russia and the Trump campaign; receiving gifts from foreign governments without Congress’s consent, and undermining the freedom of the press, The Independent reports.

The articles were endorsed by Representatives Marcia Fudge, Al Green, Luis Gutierrez, Adriano Espaillat, John Yarmuth and Steve Cohen.

“We believe that President Trump has violated the Constitution and we've introduced five articles of impeachment,” Cohen told a press conference.

Cohen acknowledged his proposal had limitations and little chance of success: the House judiciary committee, which is responsible for the impeachment of federal officials, is unlikely to take up hearings and the Republicans have majorities in both houses of Congress, CNN reports.

Gutierrez said they had chosen to focus on recent actions.

“There are many reasons why I think the President is an awful president, an awful person, but not all those reasons rise to the level of impeaching a sitting president,” he said. “We are not seeking his impeachment because of what he did before he was president.”

In a statement obtained by CNN, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Time spent calling for Trump's impeachment would be better spent focusing on tax relief for American families and businesses.”

She added: “It's disappointing that extremists in Congress still refuse to accept the President's decisive victory in last year's election.”

What constitutes impeachment?

Under the US constitution, the president, as well as the "vice president, and all civil officers of the United States", can be removed from office after being both impeached and convicted, for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

How does impeachment work?

It begins with a vote by the House judiciary committee and then, if it is approved, by the full House of Representatives. The case is then referred to the senate for trial and run like a criminal case. If at least two-thirds of senators find the president guilty, he is removed from office.

So will Trump be impeached?

Several legal specialists across party lines have cautioned that with the facts still unclear, talk of impeachment is premature, says the New York Times, especially considering the White House has denied that Trump pressured Comey to drop his investigation.

Meanwhile, if the President retains the support of the Republicans, the prospect of impeachment remains remote as they have a majority in the House and the Senate.

"Even given his latest series of unforgivable crimes, including obstruction of justice, abuse of power and flagrantly betraying our intelligence partners, the GOP doesn’t care," says Bob Cesca in Salon.

"The only possible route for Trump to be ousted from the presidency is for him to voluntarily resign."

However, not all Democrats have joined the call for impeachment and some are "actively warning against invoking the concept without first understanding exactly what transpired between the president and the former FBI director", says The Atlantic.

“That’s not something that we should be rushing into, or rushing to suggest,” Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told CNN.

But while the politicians are "choosing their words carefully, the fact that impeachment is even being mentioned is notable", says The Hill's Cristina Marcos

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