Resolution for Impeachment Proceedings Introduced in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to pass a resolution calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the President. On January 24, 2019, Massachusetts State Senator Jo Comerford introduced Resolution SD. 1565, drafted from our model resolution and citing our ten legal grounds for impeachment, urging Congress to conduct an impeachment investigation of the President. To date, seventeen cities and towns have passed resolutions calling on Congress to act on impeachment.

Reporting in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on the resolution, notes:

Comerford said in a statement that it is a critical time to defend the U.S. Constitution and democracy, and emphasize that no one is above the law.

“People from all over the commonwealth have stood up to demand Congress do their duty and hold President Trump accountable for his abuse of power and abuse of the public trust,” Comerford said.

The resolution would follow local resolutions calling for impeachment proceedings to begin against Trump, including ones adopted in Amherst and Pelham, and is similar to a bill introduced in the California legislature.

John Bonifaz … Free Speech For People cofounder and president, said he appreciates Comerford’s action because of the threat Trump poses.

“On an almost daily basis, he attacks our Constitution, our democracy, and the rule of law,” Bonifaz said. “His conduct has created a constitutional crisis which we must confront now.”

We applaud Senator Comerford’s leadership and action in holding the President accountable to the law!

To read the full article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, click here.


The huge problem with Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe that no one talks about

In an article for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Will Bunch calls for Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry into the President, in parallel with the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Bunch notes Congress has delegated its responsibility to hold the President accountable for his impeachable offenses to Mueller, stating, “Congress and other key players have used the Mueller probe as an excuse for inaction on the dangers posed by Trump.” Bunch further states that reticence from Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry, only furthers the lawlessness of the President, and removes a critical check on the balance of power in our government.

Continue reading…


Trump Reportedly Ordered Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress

According to a bombshell new report by BuzzFeed News, President Trump personally ordered his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about Trump’s efforts to pursue a real estate deal in Moscow.

As background, throughout the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump denied any efforts to pursue deals in Russia. In 2017, Michael Cohen testified to Congress that efforts to seek a Trump Tower in Moscow had ended in January 2016. But in fact, the Trump Organization had been actively pursuing a Trump Tower Moscow deal through June 2016. In November 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress.

The new report from Buzzfeed adds that Trump personally instructed Cohen to lie to Congress in order to hide Trump’s involvement. Furthermore, the evidence is not limited to Cohen’s testimony. To the contrary, Cohen simply confirmed what was already known:

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

Instructing a witness to lie to Congress is an impeachable offense (as demonstrated, e.g., in the second article of impeachment against Richard Nixon) and may involve multiple federal crimes (e.g., conspiracysubornation of perjury, and witness tampering).

The House Judiciary Committee should launch an immediate impeachment inquiry. Our system of constitutional democracy is in danger and further delay is irresponsible.


The Atlantic: Impeach Donald Trump

The March 2019 issue of The Atlantic features an important piece by historian Yoni Applebaum, in which he lays out the case for why we must begin the impeachment process against President Trump.

Applebaum details Trump’s many constitutional violations in his article:

…[Trump] has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.

Appelbaum rebuts many common objections to impeachment in his piece. He argues that impeachment is not an partisan issue, but rather individuals from both sides of the aisle have spoken out against Trump’s unconstitutional actions, and those who have worked closely with the president express the most alarm. Applebaum also addresses the trepidation Congress has expressed in beginning the impeachment process, choosing to “outsource its responsibilities to federal prosecutors.” But we cannot wait for judges or the Mueller Investigation:

Only by authorizing a dedicated impeachment inquiry can the House begin to assemble disparate allegations into a coherent picture, forcing lawmakers to consider both whether specific charges are true and whether the president’s abuses of his power justify his removal.

Trump has violated the Constitution repeatedly and profoundly. Regardless of politics, impeachment is a constitutional process designed by our nation’s founders for precisely this purpose:

[The founders] created a mechanism for considering whether a president is subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare—in short, whether his continued tenure in office poses a threat to the republic. This mechanism is impeachment….

Impeachment is a process, not an outcome, a rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

Applebaum concludes his powerful piece with a call to action for Congress:

Today, the United States once more confronts a president who seems to care for only some of the people he represents, who promises his supporters that he can roll back the tide of diversity, who challenges the rule of law, and who regards constitutional rights and liberties as disposable. Congress must again decide whether the greater risk lies in executing the Constitution as it was written, or in deferring to voters to do what it cannot muster the courage to do itself. The gravest danger facing the country is not a Congress that seeks to measure the president against his oath—it is a president who fails to measure up to that solemn promise.

Read the article in Atlantic Magazine here.

Want to get involved in the movement to hold President Trump accountable to the law? Click here to take action!


Inspector General: GSA Ignored Constitutional Problems with Trump Hotel Lease

The Office of Inspector General of the General Services Administration issued a scathing report on “Evaluation of GSA’s Management and Administration of the Old Post Office Building Lease.” As the Inspector General concludes, GSA lawyers essentially ignored a glaring constitutional problem with leasing this federally-owned building to the Trump Organization.

As background, the GSA administers the lease of the federally-owned Old Post Office Building to the Trump International Hotel. The Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution 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 is a separate provision from the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which applies to presents and emoluments from foreign governments and their instrumentalities.)

The problem is that the GSA leases the building to the Trump Organization, which is owned by the president. To make matters worse, the GSA’s lease contract includes standard language 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 . . . .” After Trump entered office, the GSA announced that it had concluded that this clause somehow did not apply, on the bizarre theory that since the Trump Organization nominally transferred management of the LLCs and corporations that operate the hotel to Trump’s sons, Trump will not “benefit” from the lease during his term in office. The GSA’s decision not to enforce the unambiguous term in the lease contract is a government benefit and domestic emolument.

The Inspector General’s report notes that the lease “raised issues under the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses that might cause a breach of the lease; however, GSA decided not to address those issues.” GSA’s own lawyers recognized the constitutional problem early on, but “the attorneys decided to ignore the emoluments issue … without conducting any research of the two Emoluments Clauses or checking for any OLC opinions.”

President Trump has been enriching himself from public resources since the moment he took office, and unfortunately in this case, federal government lawyers sworn to uphold the Constitution enabled his profiteering. Congress must begin an immediate impeachment inquiry.


Ron Fein on Rising Up With Sonali

Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein joined Sonali Kolhatkar on Rising Up With Sonali to discuss the latest revelations about President Trump, Russia, Michael Cohen’s upcoming testimony to Congress, and why Congress should start impeachment hearings now and not wait for the conclusion of the criminal investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

 


John Bonifaz on The Damage Report

Free Speech For People President, John Bonifaz, joined John Iadarola of The Damage Report to discuss the recent op-ed, authored by John Bonifaz and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, in the Detroit Free Press, ‘Now is the Time to Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump‘, and  to discuss why we do not need to wait for the conclusion of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.


A Turning Point for Impeachment

Today is a big day for impeachment news! Check out the following news and op-eds regarding impeachment:

Detroit Free Press: Now is the time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump

In an op-ed published today, Representative Rashida Tlaib and Free Speech For People President, John Bonifaz, assert that, “President Donald Trump is a direct and serious threat to our country.” Their message is clear that the time for an impeachment investigation of the President is now:

“This is not just about Donald Trump. This is about all of us. What should we be as a nation? Who should we be as a people? In the face of this constitutional crisis, we must rise. We must rise to defend our Constitution, to defend our democracy, and to defend that bedrock principle that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.”

The Nation: Rashida Tlaib Calls for Taking Immediate Steps Toward Impeachment on Her First Day in Congress

In an article for the Nation, John Nichols reports on the Detroit Free Press op-ed, offering support for Representative Tlaib and John Bonifaz’s call for impeachment proceedings against the President. Nichols reflects on Representative Tlaib’s legal background and full grasp of the Constitution, writing:

[Representative Tlaib’s] sense of urgency, rooted in her own history as a lawyer and activist, will inform Tlaib’s service, as she makes clear in her rejection of petty political calculations regarding impeachment.

Los Angeles Times: California’s Rep. Brad Sherman to introduce impeachment measure

The LA Times reports that Representative Brad Sherman plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump today, Thursday, January 3. Representative Sherman explains:

“There is no reason it shouldn’t be before the Congress,” Sherman said. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country.”

Axios: House Republicans’ new reality

Axios reports that Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are seeking an Investigative Counsel, “an attorney with several years of investigative or litigation experience.” This job posting is likely in anticipation of possible impeachment proceedings:

After controlling the entire government for two years, Republicans on the Hill and in the White House are assuming a defensive crouch, with incoming House Democratic chairs vowing aggressive investigations.

To take action and help us keep the pressure on Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, click here!


Ben Clements Joins Frances Rivera on Weekends with Alex Witt

On December 29, 2018, Free Speech For People Board Chair, Ben Clements, joined MSNBC’s Frances Rivera on Weekends with Alex Witt to discuss the latest on the investigation of the President by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation of Trump’s business interests, including the Trump Organization.

Free Speech For People recently renewed our call on the New York State Attorney General to begin an investigation into whether to revoke the corporate charter of the Trump Organization due to the company’s alleged criminal activities, including money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, facilitating unconstitutional foreign government payments (emoluments) to the president and concealing a political slush fund by invoicing bogus “legal services.” This renewed call follows the submission of a guilty plea by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen for, among other charges, conspiring with the President to violate federal campaign finance law and evade regulatory scrutiny through a fraudulent scheme of concealing “hush money” payments and campaign expenses.

Click here to learn more about the campaign to Dissolve the Trump Organization! 


Impeachment Media Round-Up

Impeachment has been in the news lately with the recent sentencing of Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and as the Mueller investigation continues. But we’ve known of Trump’s impeachable offenses since he took the oath of office.

Check out our round-up of the latest news on impeachment proceedings against the President:

  • WBUR: It’s Time to Impeach Donald Trump
  • The New York Times: The Inevitability of Impeachment
  • Washington Post: If Trump’s actions aren’t impeachable, then what is?
  • The Hill: Mueller’s Choice: Impeachment Does Not Preclude Indictment
  • NBC News: Trump Confides to Friends He’s Concerned About Impeachment
  • Inquisitr: Donald Trump Impeachment Proceedings Could Start Soon, Predicts Key Watergate Figure
  • The Nation: The Impeachment of Donald Trump Is No Longer ‘Off the Table
  • The Boston Globe: Why Aren’t We Talking About Impeachment?
  • USA Today: How House Democrats Can Save Democracy and the Rule of Law: Impeach Donald Trump ASAP
  • Bloomberg: When Impeachment Is Mandatory
  • Salon: The Case for Impeaching Trump: I Voted to Impeach Nixon — I Can Recognize a President Running Amok
  • Thread by Harvard Law Professor, John Coates, on impeachment:

And a reminder that Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib gifted our book, The Constitution Demands It, to each new member of Congress:

To purchase our book, click here.

And to get involved in the movement to hold the President accountable to the law, click here.


Order The Constitution Demands It Today!