Virginia delegate plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax
(CNN) — Virginia delegate Patrick Hope has outlined his plans to offer up articles of impeachment against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
In an email to his House Democratic colleagues, Hope says he plans to file a resolution first thing Monday morning that lists the reasons he believes that Fairfax’s conduct warrants removal from office.
The embattled lieutenant governor of Virginia was accused by two women of sexual assault, including rape by one of the women. Fairfax released a statement on Saturday acknowledging both interactions with the women, but said both instances were consensual.
The resolution introduced by Hope would be the first step in the removal process. The process begins in the House and if it passes with a majority vote, it moves to the Senate where they will hold a trial to determine if Fairfax will be removed.
The resolution must have the support of the Speaker of the House, Republican Kirkland Cox, in order to even be brought for a vote for the house floor. He has not indicated if he will allow that to happen.
The resolution comes at a time when the top three elected officials in Virginia are embroiled in scandal. A photo surfaced from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s decades-old medical school yearbook showing one person wearing blackface and one person wearing a white KKK hood and robe. Northam said he has no plans to resign, despite mounting pressure. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted last week he wore blackface at a 1980 party.
A copy of the resolution, obtained by CNN, reads, “the House of Delegates believes all allegations of sexual assault must be taken with the utmost seriousness,” and describes the allegations made by the two women as “credible in nature.”
The resolution reads: “now, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That proceedings for the impeachment of Lieutenant Governor Justin E. Fairfax shall be initiated.”
The resolution also directs the House Committee for Courts of Justice to hold hearings “to inquire into the allegations made against” Fairfax, and whether his alleged actions against the two women “constitute conduct sufficient to provide grounds for impeachment pursuant to Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Fairfax’s spokeswoman Lauren Burke issued a statement in response that reads, “The Lt. Governor is aggressively exploring options for a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation of these allegations. We hope, for example, that the FBI will show a willingness to investigate.”
“It is especially important in the most difficult of times that we pay attention to our fundamental Constitutional values,” the statement continues. “He believes that an inherently political process is not the most likely path for learning the truth.”
“The Lt. Governor is confident in the truth that will emerge from an independent impartial investigation,” the statement reads.