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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/15/17

The Growing Case for Impeaching Donald Trump, From Lawlessness and Corruption to Abuse of Power

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On Thursday, another Democrat endorsed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a resolution presented in November by a half-dozen Democrats accusing Trump of obstruction of justice and other offenses. Democrat Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire is the latest official to join the effort and is one of 12 House Democrats who represent a district won by Trump in 2016. This comes as a petition for impeachment launched in October by Democratic donor Tom Steyer has garnered more than 3.5 million supporters. At least 17 communities around the country are now on record calling for impeachment proceedings against Trump. "It is not acceptable to say that we will simply kick the can down the road and wait until after an election cycle to lay the groundwork for the impeachment proceedings," says constitutional attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech for People. "We need to be laying that groundwork and making this call now."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, as we turn now to an update on the movement to impeach President Donald Trump. In November, a half-dozen Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses. Co-sponsors include Democratic Representatives Steve Cohen, Luis Gutie'rrez, Al Green, Marcia Fudge, Adriano Espaillat and John Yarmuth.

Well, on Thursday, another congressmember endorsed articles of impeachment. This time it was one of the 12 House Democrats representing a district won by Trump in 2016: Democratic Congressmember Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire. She said in a statement Thursday, "Many Members of Congress, including myself, agree with Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker that President Trump poses a dangerous threat to national security and the future of our democracy. ... I believe it is past time for Members of Congress to put country before party and bring these discussions out into the open," Shea-Porter said. Until now, other Democrats who have endorsed Trump's impeachment have hailed from safe blue districts. Porter plans to retire at the end of her term.

This comes as the House rejected an effort last week by Congressmember Al Green of Houston to move forward with articles of impeachment, even as some 58 Democrats voted in support of the resolution -- nearly a third of the caucus. Meanwhile, a petition for impeachment launched in October by Democratic donor Tom Steyer now has more than three-and-a-half million supporters, and at least 17 communities around the country are on record calling for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Well, earlier this month, Democracy Now! spoke to constitutional attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and director of Free Speech for People. I started by asking him about the movement to impeach Trump.

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, to be clear, what we're doing here with this impeachment campaign that we launched with RootsAction on the day of the inauguration, because the president had refused to divest from his business holdings all across the world in defiance of the anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution -- what we're doing, Amy, is designed to defend our Constitution and our democracy.

This is not about being dissatisfied about certain policies of the president. This is about the Constitution and the basic fundamental principle in this country that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States. And he walked into the Oval Office that day already defying the rule of law, already refusing to comply with those two anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what those two anti-corruption articles of the Constitution are and what he refused to do with his businesses.

JOHN BONIFAZ: So those two anti-corruption provisions are the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause. The Foreign Emoluments Clause makes clear that the president shall not receive, nor any other federal elected official shall not receive, any payments or financial benefits of any kind from any foreign governments. The Domestic Emoluments Clause applies only to the president and says he shall not receive any financial benefits or payments of any kind from the federal government or the state government other than his federal salary.

This is a president who has 111-plus business interests all over the world, many of which involve illegal foreign benefits, foreign government benefits, to him personally, through his company, the Trump Organization, as well as having properties all over the United States that involve state government benefits and the federal government, through the leasing of the Post Office Square in Washington, D.C., that is now the place where the Trump International Hotel resides.

So, what we're dealing [with] here with is a president who knew, prior to taking the Oval Office, warned by constitutional scholars, that he needed to divest from his business interests in order to comply with those anti-corruption provisions. He refused to, and he is engaged in treating the Oval Office as a profit-making enterprise at the public expense.

AMY GOODMAN: How have things changed since January, when Donald Trump became president?

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