We are calling upon Congress to pass a resolution calling for the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States.
From the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the US Constitution. The President is not above the law. We will not allow President Trump to profit from the presidency at the expense of our democracy. Trump has stepped down from the management of his business empire, but he has not divested his assets as recommended by the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics. He has also denied doing any business in Russia: “I have no deals, I have no loans, and I have no dealings,” he said on Jan. 11.
President Trump’s personal and business holdings in the United States and abroad present unprecedented conflicts of interest. Indeed, President Trump has admitted he has conflicts of interest in some cases. For example, the Trump Organization has licensing deals with two Trump Towers in Istanbul, and has received up to $10 million from developers since 2014. President Trump admitted recently that “I have a little conflict of interest, because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.”
Crucially, some of these business arrangements violate the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which provides: “[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The purpose of this provision is to prevent foreign influence or corruption. “Emoluments” from foreign governments include “any conferral of a benefit or advantage, whether through money, objects, titles, offices, or economically valuable waivers or relaxations of otherwise applicable requirements,” even including “ordinary, fair market value transactions that result in any economic profit or benefit to the federal officeholder.”
Similarly, the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause (also known as the Presidential Compensation Clause) provides: “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.” This provision, which is not waivable by Congress, is designed to prevent corruption, as Alexander Hamilton explained:
“Neither the Union, nor any of its members, will be at liberty to give, nor will he be at liberty to receive, any other emolument than that which may have been determined by the first act. He can, of course, have no pecuniary inducement to renounce or desert the independence intended for him by the Constitution.”
President Trump has chosen to continue owning businesses that receive government subsidies and tax breaks in violation of this provision. For example, since 1980, Mr. Trump and his businesses have “reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York.” As President, federal and state subsidies and tax breaks violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause.
Furthermore, as noted above, “emoluments” are not limited to monetary payments; they also include economically valuable favorable regulatory actions. President Trump’s control over the vast modern powers of the executive branch means that regulatory action affecting his businesses favorably constitutes an “Emolument from the United States.” For example, President Trump’s ongoing lease of Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office, in which the Trump International Hotel is located, violates an explicit clause in the General Services Administration lease contract providing: “No . . . elected official of the Government of the United States . . . shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom . .. .” In late November, members of Congress wrote the GSA requesting information about the “imminent breach-of-lease and conflict of interest issues created by President-elect Donald Trump’s lease with the U.S. Government for the Trump International Hotel building in Washington, D.C.” The GSA responded in mid-December that it could not make a determination “until the full circumstances surrounding the president-elect’s business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office.” His business arrangements have been announced (not including any divestment of the hotel) and he has assumed office, but the GSA is not pursuing any legal action to enforce the provision. That favorable regulatory treatment provides President Trump a significant financial benefit from the federal government above and beyond his federal salary.
Finally, the Committee should also investigate whether President Trump is violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act). The STOCK Act is one of the few federal ethics statutes that specifically includes the President. Among other provisions, it prohibits the President from (1) using nonpublic information for private profit, and from (2) intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.
"Our disconnection with the world, translates into a kind of disrespect of the feminine. How far can you go in violating the mother that gave you life? As long as the feminine is diminished the connection between us and the earth is going to be always underscored by a big question mark. We have abused the earth so much, that we don't know which direction to go. We must wonder what the connection between this increasing masculinity that is translated in terms of repeated violence or the love of it."Sign the Petition
Malidoma Somé, PhD Elder of the Dagara people, W-Africa & Author
Participate in protests and rallies around the country.
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Defend free speech and human rights. Fight for immigrants' rights.
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Come together and unite to preserve the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
Call, write, your representative.