The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution Friday calling for an investigation in Congress into whether President Donald Trump has committed any impeachable offenses.
“Today I ask the Council to put our city on the record and tell Congress to do its job by investigating whether President Donald J. Trump has violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution or committed any other high crime or misdemeanor sufficient to warrant commencement of impeachment proceedings,” L.A. City Council member Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) said in a written statement.
“With this resolution the city of Los Angeles calls on our Congress members and our Senators for the good of the country to investigate Trump’s international finances and make sure that he is actually working on behalf of the American people,” Blumenfield, who sponsored the measure, added. “Every day more alarming information comes out regarding Trump’s business dealings and brazenness about lack of transparency and conflicts of interest.”
Blumenfield expressed his concern that Trump’s background as a businessman could conflict inherently with any decisions he makes as president regarding foreign countries and the U.S. economy.
“Today the City Council passed my reso telling Congress to investigate @RealDonaldTrump finances in regards to the Emoluments Clause,” Blumenfield tweeted Friday. “Angelenos and the American people must be assured that every decision he makes is for their well-being, not for his own wealth.”
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The L.A. councilman also expressed his dubious concern that several associates connected with Trump’s campaign who have ties with countries such as Russia and Turkey may also compromise his ability to serve constitutionally as president, in addition to his varied business interests.
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“This is not about his anti-choice positions, or his anti-immigrant policies, or his efforts to deny millions of Americans health care, or his misogynistic words and deeds, or any of his positions I find odious,” Blumenfield clarified. “This is about conflicts of interest.”
The Emoluments Clause prohibits elected officials “without the consent of the Congress” from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” Blumenfield maintains that any foreign leader or dignitary who stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., could violate the clause, as everything in the hotel is branded with the name of the president “from the top of the building down to the chocolate on the pillows.” Thus, he argued, Congress must “look deep” into Trump’s international and financial dealings to discern whether he must be impeached.
Emolument Clause accusations are nothing new for Trump. In January, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit against the president over similar concerns.
“Diplomats from foreign governments and their agents are staying in Trump hotels, like the Trump hotel in D.C.,” Zephyr Teachout, a lawyer on the case, told NPR. “That’s money from foreign governments going into our president’s pocket while he is making decisions that affect those countries.”
The president dismissed the lawsuit as “without merit” during a White House press conference in January and he pledged that he would donate any profits gleaned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.
Blumenfield follows in the footsteps of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who has been calling for Trump’s impeachment for months — without any indication what offense worthy of impeachment the president might have committed. At a gala Wednesday night, Waters renewed her calls once again.
“We will not allow ourselves to be shut up or shut down by anyone, especially this disgusting, poor excuse of a man who’s now the president of the United States,” Waters said. “I’m not afraid of the word impeached … I want him impeached; that is what he deserves.”