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167843_7060685_updates.jpgSteve Cohen. Image Courtesy: NY Daily News

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker on Wednesday became the third Democrat this year to introduce articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, saying the president's "illegal conduct" including obstruction of justice is grounds for removal.

"We're calling upon the House to begin impeachment hearings immediately," Steve Cohen of Tennessee told reporters as he unveiled five articles accusing Trump.

The measure has five other co-sponsors, and Cohen said about a dozen others are close to signing on.

Under the rules of Congress, a majority vote in the 435-member House of Representatives is required to impeach a president. Republicans control the chamber with a 46-seat advantage, so the chance of a vote or hearings on the matter is virtually zero for now.

Cohen says his charges include obstruction of justice related to Trump's pressuring and firing of FBI director James Comey over the investigation into Russian meddling in the US election and possible coordination between Moscow and Trump's campaign.

They also include alleged violations of the US Constitution's emoluments clause, which forbids a sitting president from receiving money from a foreign power.

Cohen and other Democrats have accused Trump of knowingly enriching himself while president by guiding business to his properties, including his Trump hotel just blocks from the White House, and his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The lawmaker also accused Trump of undermining the federal judiciary, and freedom of the press.

Democrats have debated the political merits of pressing impeachment, as some have cautioned that an aggressive stance could provoke a backlash by Trump's conservative base at the ballot box.

But Cohen, who represents a relatively safe district with a large African-American constituency, said the move could help his party.

"The Democratic base needs to know that there are members of Congress who are willing to stand up against this president and bring impeachment charges, and continue to bring light to the illegal conduct that's taking place and threatening our country," Cohen said.

In July, House Democrat Brad Sherman became the first lawmaker to formally introduce an article of impeachment against Trump. Another Democrat, Al Green, introduced articles of impeachment last month.

Green, who backs Cohen's articles, said the constitutional clauses outlining presidential removal were "drafted for a time such as this and a president such as Trump."


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