Impeach Trump Now, Advocates Say as They Deliver Over 10 Million Signatures to Congress

Democratic Representatives Al Green and Rashida Tlaib hold a computer flash drive during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, on May 9. The drive contains 10 million signatures on a petition urging Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A coalition of national advocacy groups on Thursday delivered 10 million signatures—what they are calling the biggest online petition campaign in U.S. history—urging the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

The groups held a press conference on the Capitol Lawn with supporting Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Al Green before delivering the petition signatures to Congress.

Tlaib, one of a handful of members of Congress who has embraced the growing grass-roots movement to impeach Trump, said of the 10 million signatures: "That's the population of the 12 smallest states combined."

"Movements happen with actions like this where millions of us speak up demanding that our representatives work on our behalf," she said.

Tlaib said Trump should be impeached because he violated the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prohibits any elected U.S. official from accepting "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State" without the consent of Congress.

Trump critics, including the groups behind the petition, have used this argument to push for removing the president from office.

"It is so important that we completely push back, very strongly, very loudly against this president not abiding by the U.S. Constitution," she said, "And not only that but a number of obstruction of justice decisions that he has made."

Tlaib held up a thumb drive with the 10 million signatures before introducing Green, who had pushed for impeaching Trump long before calls ramped up after the redacted Mueller report was released.

"We are holding in our hands 10 million reasons for being here today," Green said. "It's important for these organizations to get a message to the masses."

Green referenced an argument made by Pelosi and others, that Trump could be goading the House into moving forward with impeachment because he believes it would strengthen support from his base. The congressman dubbed this sort of reasoning a "myth" and "reverse psychology."

"This is merely his way of causing us to do that which he really wants us to do and that is avoid impeachment," said Green.

"You can't say we have a Constitutional crisis and then do nothing." - @RepAlGreen on Capitol Hill, receiving 10 million petition signatures to impeach the president

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— Need To Impeach 🍑 (@Need2Impeach) May 9, 2019

The 10 million signatures included more than 8 million gathered by the Need to Impeach campaign launched by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer in October 2017. Other organizations involved in the effort include Free Speech for People, MoveOn, CREDO, Democracy for America, Women's March, Courage Campaign and By the People.

When groups first began calling for Trump's impeachment, Democratic leaders were reluctant, saying they were awaiting the results of the Mueller report. Some Democratic representatives have since joined the effort, and calls to impeach Trump have escalated since the redacted Mueller report was released last month.

"The Democratic leadership are still obsessed with a misguided notion of catering to the middle," Steyer said in a statement. "But what the American people want are representatives with the courage and moral clarity to fight for a system that represents the people."

A small number of Democratic presidential candidates—including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and former Representative Beto O'Rourke—have publicly supported the idea of the House beginning the impeachment process. However, none of these White House hopefuls currently has any authority to get that process started.

Impeachment must begin in the House, where it would only require a simple majority of representatives to sign off on the articles of impeachment. Given the Democrats hold a solid majority in this chamber, it could succeed at this initial stage.

However, actually removing a sitting president would be more difficult. After passing the House, the process would move on the Senate for a trial. To convict and remove a president would require a two-thirds majority. With Republicans currently holding 53 of the chamber's 100 seats, it would require a significant number of GOP senators to vote for removal of their party's de facto leader.