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Trump impeachment more likely than removal, California Rep. Brad Sherman says at town hall meeting

San Fernando Valley Rep. Brad Sherman received an overwhelming endorsement from constituents Sunday for his decision to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Several hundred attendees of a town hall cheered Sherman’s recitation of the reasons he thinks Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment.

But he also sought to hold down expectations for Trump’s immediate removal, either by impeachment or the means provided in the 25th Amendment that allows members of an administration to remove a president in the national interest.

That, he said, would require Trump’s entire Cabinet to join in the dismissal, and Trump could fire any cabinet member he thought was turning against him, Sherman said.

“Impeachment is more likely than the 25th Amendment, and it could take a few more shocking things to happen,” Sherman said. “We’re not there yet.”

Sherman (D-Porter Ranch) said he had declined to call for impeachment at his previous town hall in April because he had only news reports and secondhand information on what appeared to be obstruction of justice by Trump in seeking to end the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion by his campaign in Russian efforts to sway the presidential election.

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After reviewing the sworn testimony of former FBI Director James B. Comey, both oral and written, Sherman said he became convinced that Trump threatened Comey to get him to drop the investigation, then fired Comey when he didn’t.

Sherman joined with Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) in introducing the articles of impeachment in June.

Sunday’s 90-minute town hall in the auditorium of Reseda High School remained peaceful, but was sometimes raucous when about a dozen Trump supporters waved signs and interrupted Sherman every few minutes shouting, “Lies!” There was an occasional epithet, prompting supporters to shout back, “Shut up over there.”

“Shhhhh,” Sherman told the crowd several times to restore quiet.

Among other national topics Sherman touched on, he said he supports abolishing the Electoral College and ending right-to-work laws in all states.

The congressman spoke only briefly about last week’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., calling the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis as dangerous as Islamic terrorists.

“They are terrorist organizations and should be labeled so,” Sherman said.

Still, he wouldn’t say Trump’s failure to call them that is another cause for impeachment. “I don’t think you can impeach a president for being wrong,” he said.

Sherman also detailed local transportation concerns: He wants the Orange Line bus route across the Valley improved by installing crossing gates, separating some crossings and scrapping the buses for light rail to speed up the cross-Valley trip by 15 minutes.

But nothing is more important to him, he said, than getting a subway through the Sepulveda Pass within 10 years.

With lawmakers on congressional recess, town halls are being held across the state. Few of the Republicans that Democrats are attempting to oust in 2018 have met with their constituents in such settings.

Trump was among the subjects at another town hall meeting over the weekend in Northern California.

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) told his constituents that the president’s response to the racist violence in Virginia was embarrassing and that a case could be made for censuring Trump.

“I think given his actions, his words post-Charlottesville, you can very well make the case, and we are starting to talk about that, of censuring the president,” Bera said to strong applause. “We can’t do that without Republicans finding the political courage to join with us.”

Bera said Trump has divided the U.S. with his comments and actions and hurt the country’s image in the world.

“I, at this particular point, am embarrassed by our president and some of his actions, some of his words,” Bera told some 300 people who attended the town hall in Rancho Cordova, east of Sacramento.

The congressman also was asked by audience members about the possibility of the president being impeached.

“I think things are moving in that direction,” Bera said. “I think the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is accelerating the investigation.”

doug.smith@latimes.com

Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report from Sacramento. More coverage of congressional town halls can be found on our Essential Politics news feed.

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