US lawmaker launches bid to impeach Trump over alleged connections with the Kremlin
A Californian Democrat has filed an article of impeachment against US President Donald Trump. Representative Brad Sherman filed the long-shot bid to remove the president from office yesterday.
In it, he accuses Mr Trump of obstructing investigations into Russian meddling in the presidential election, in part by firing former FBI director James Comey.
Mr Sherman acknowledges that filing the article is "the first step on a very long road".
"But if the impulsive incompetency continues, then eventually - months from now - Republicans will join the impeachment effort," he added in a statement.
The effort has little chance of success in the Republican-led House. Mr Sherman does not have the backing of many fellow Democrats. Democratic leaders have distanced themselves from efforts to impeach Mr Trump, believing it serves only to energise the president's supporters.
Mr Sherman's resolution has one co-sponsor, Democrat Al Green of Texas.
Mr Sherman filed the article a day after the president's son, Donald Trump Jr, acknowledged he met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
Mr Trump defended his eldest son over the meeting last year, declaring on Twitter that he was "open, transparent and innocent".
The comments came a day after Donald Trump Jr revealed his eagerness to hear damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government in a meeting with a lawyer from Moscow during the presidential campaign.
Defending his son's conduct, the president again dismissed the ongoing Russian investigation as the "greatest witch hunt in political history".
Mr Trump Jr disclosed a series of emails on Tuesday that marked the clearest sign to date that his father's campaign was willing to consider election help from a long-time US adversary.
The email exchange posted to Twitter by Mr Trump Jr showed him conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a "Russian government attorney," who supposedly had dirt on Mrs Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump".
The messages reveal that Mr Trump Jr was told the Russian government had information that could "incriminate" Mrs Clinton and her dealings with Russia. "I love it," Mr Trump Jr said in one email response.
The president's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in an interview with NBC's Today that Mr Trump Jr did not violate any laws by accepting the meeting.
He said the president had not been aware of Mr Trump Jr's June 2016 meeting and did not find out about his son's email exchange until "very recently".
As the emails reverberated across the political world, Mr Trump Jr defended his actions in an interview with Fox News.
He blamed the decision to take the meeting on the "million miles per hour" pace of a presidential campaign and his suspicion the lawyer might have information about "under-reported" scandals involving Mrs Clinton. He said the meeting "went nowhere" and he never told his father as there was "nothing to tell".
Democrats in Congress voiced outrage and insisted the messages showed clear collusion.