One of the House’s leading Democrats is expecting Republicans to impeach President Barack Obama in the new Congress, saying the GOP would like nothing more than “to put an asterisk” on Obama’s presidency. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the assistant House Democratic leader and a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, made the comments Tuesday night on MSNBC.
“There will be some reason found to introduce an impeachment resolution” in the House, Clyburn said. “These Republicans have decided that this president must have an asterisk by his name when he leaves office, irrespective of whether or not he gets convicted, it is their plan to introduce an impeachment resolution and they do have the 218 votes to pass it. Because that will keep the country focused on foolishness rather than on what we need to do in order to move an agenda forward.”
Republicans have talked of impeaching Obama before, but no member has actually brought articles of impeachment against the president. Obama has angered the GOP over executive orders that they said were unlawful but the president said were necessary because the Republican Congress was obstructing issues like immigration and a minimum wage increase for federal contractors. Clyburn hinted that the GOP animosity toward Obama also involved racial undertones.
Individual members of Congress can introduce articles of impeachment, which would then be voted on by the full House. If a majority of members impeach the president, a trial is then conducted in the Senate. The upper chamber needs a two-thirds vote to convict and remove the president from office. This is highly unlikely, however, as Republicans will have at most a 55-45 majority in the Senate come January after winning new seats in last week's midterm elections. No Democrats are expected to vote to remove the president. During the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton in 1999, no Democrats convicted Clinton of perjury or obstruction of justice, while 50 of the 55 GOP senators convicted Clinton of at least one of those charges.
“So why are we going through this whole charade? It is to put an asterisk next to this first African-American president in the history of the country, put an asterisk next to his name when the history books are written,” Clyburn said.