"Has the President committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That's the question. We know that. We know the question. We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision."
With these words, Barbara Jordan, the first Southern African-American woman to hold a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, opened a line of inquiry supporting the impeachment of President Richard Nixon on July 25, 1974 during a speech to the House Judiciary Committee.
Today, another Houston politician made waves in Washington as the first U.S. Representative to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. While the House convened for Morning Hour, Al Green, who represents Texas's 9th congressional district, took the floor to speak.
"I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America for obstruction of justice," said Green. "I do not do this for political purposes, Mr. Speaker, but because I believe in the great ideals that this country stands for: liberty and justice for all, the notion that we should have government of the people, by the people, for the people. I do it because, Mr. Speaker, there is a belief in this country that no one is above the law, and that includes the President of the United States of America. Mr. Speaker, our democracy is at risk."
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, whom Green repeatedly addressed, was not present at this morning's House session. Ryan would have to agree to allow a vote in the House of Representatives in order to initiate impeachment proceedings. In the case of that event, the majority of the House would have to vote to impeach President Trump, while a two-thirds majority of the Senate would have to vote to convict him.
President Nixon famously resigned on August 4, 1974, less than two weeks after Barbara Jordan's speech, rather than face impeachment.
"This is not something to be taken lightly and I do not. I think that this is one of the highest callings that a member of Congress has to address. I believe that this is where your patriotism is shown, where you demonstrate to the American people where you really stand. I take this stand. It's a position of conscience for me," said Green. "This is about my position, about what I believe. This is where I stand. I will not be moved. The President must be impeached."