Mere hours after Rashida Tlaib was sworn into the House of Representatives (one of the first Muslim women to do so), she called for the impeachment of US President Donald Trump.
The Palestinian-American published an opinion story earlier in the month writing that there was already “overwhelming evidence that the President has committed impeachable offences”.
Newly elected Somali-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar is also in favor of Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
The two women will now be able to vote and form a simple majority in the House of Congress and also work towards overturning Trump’s ban targeting Muslim countries. However, to remove Trump from office, two-thirds of the Senate also need to find him guilty.
Ms Tlaib has said that she believes Mr Trump’s impeachable offenses include “obstructing justice … abusing the pardon power; directing or seeking to direct law enforcement to prosecute political adversaries for improper purposes”.
She also said Mr Trump was responsible for the “unconstitutional imprisonment of children at the southern border” and “conspiring to illegally influence the 2016 election” though hush money payments.
Senior Democratic members remain cautious as they await results from Robert Mueller’s investigation while Ms. Tlaib’s stance is resonating with a Party movement to remove the President from office.
While a number of senior Democrats are urging their colleagues to wait until the end of the Mueller investigation to discuss impeachment, Ms Tlaib argues “it is not Mueller’s role to determine whether the President has committed impeachable offences”.
Democrats wasted no time in reintroducing articles of impeachment on the first day of the new Congress. The articles, first introduced by Brad Sherman last July, will now carry more weight as Democrats have retaken the House majority (first time since 2011).
In an interview with the US Today show, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was refusing to rule out indicting or impeaching Mr Trump, despite having previously said it was too early to start the discussions.
Timothy Trudgian, a mathematical scientist and future fellow at the University of New South Wales, has stated that “even if up to 17 Democrats swap sides … there is [still] a very high chance of impeachment proceedings being approved in the [House] committee”. Dr Trudgian said that mathematically, it was a hard ask for the Senate to convict and remove a president because a two-thirds majority was required.
Democrats, including their dependent supporters, make up 47 senators, meaning at least 20 people would need to cross the floor.
“If there was a one-in-three chance of any given Republican senator crossing the floor, and this is staggeringly high, then the chances of a guilty verdict are less than 30 per cent,” Dr Trudgian said.
However, if there is evidence of Mr Trump colluding with Russia, House Democrats will have a much stronger case for impeachment and may be able to win over Republicans. To remove Mr Trump following an impeachment, he must also be tried and found guilty by the Senate, where Republicans currently hold a majority.
Historically, only two presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, and neither were convicted.
Impeachment is a statement of charges made against a holder of public office for reasons of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” — not the removal of someone from office.
Whether, the misconduct is enough to impeach a president is up to the House.