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Missouri Democrat co-sponsors resolution to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice

Rep. Clay cosponsors resolution to impeach President Trump

Rep. William Lacy Clay announced that he is cosponsoring resolutions to impeach President Donald Trump on June 21, 2019.
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Rep. William Lacy Clay announced that he is cosponsoring resolutions to impeach President Donald Trump on June 21, 2019.

A Missouri lawmaker is co-sponsoring a resolution to impeach President Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors— only a month after he questioned the usefulness of pursuing impeachment.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, a St. Louis Democrat, announced Friday that he was co-sponsoring two measures meant to kickstart the process: A resolution to direct the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment inquiry and a resolution to impeach the president.

“Today, I have acted to assert the constitutionally mandated authority of the U.S. House to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his repeated acts of attempted obstruction of justice and his reckless contempt for the Constitution which he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend,” Lacy Clay said in a statement.

The impeachment resolution is sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, and Rep. Al Green, D-Texas. The resolution directing the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment inquiry is sponsored by Green and Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Michigan.

Lacy Clay’s call marks a shift from last month when the ten-term congressman expressed concerns about a potential backlash from voters if House Democrats began the process.

“We need to do everything we can to maintain our majority and not just pursue impeachment for the sake of pursuing it because people don’t like this man,” Lacy Clay said last month.

“What’s the endgame? What is the endgame: To say that the House impeached him? I mean, what good does that do when he won’t be leaving office?” Lacy Clay said at the time, noting that the GOP-controlled Senate would be unlikely to remove Trump from office even if the House voted to impeach.

What changed the congressman’s mind since last month?

“An accumulation of evidence,” Steven Engelhardt, Lacy Clay’s spokesman, said in an email.

The impeachment resolution that Lacy Clay signed onto relies heavily on the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which was released in April.

The resolution states that Trump sought to hinder the criminal investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the federal probe into Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 election.

“In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the resolution states.

Gregg Keller, who chairs the Republican Missouri Victory Committee, said that Clay’s “ceremonial call for impeachment might be good local politics for him in St. Louis but Democrats’ focus on impeaching an innocent and duly elected President will prove disastrous for their Party nationally and help usher in a second Trump term.”

The Missouri Democrat’s decision to join the resolution could put pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who has so far resisted the push from the party’s progressive wing to pursue impeachment.

Other Democrats from the region have supported Pelosi’s cautious approach.

“I am not opposed to impeachment. I am opposed to impatience,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, told The Star earlier this month.

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Bryan Lowry covers Kansas and Missouri politics as Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star. He previously served as Kansas statehouse correspondent for The Wichita Eagle and as The Star’s lead political reporter. Lowry contributed to The Star’s investigation into government secrecy that was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.
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