The Nation: Donald Trump Is Actively Obstructing Justice

In a recent article in the Nation, John Nichols reports on the most recent instance of obstruction of justice perpetrated by Donald Trump.

As Nichols reports, Donald Trump and his administration are seeking to force the declassification of documents and text messages that are relevant to the inquiry into Russian influence on his campaign and his presidency.

The president has ordered the Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to begin the “immediate declassification” of key sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application for Carter Page, who once served as a foreign-policy aide to Trump. The president has also ordered the declassification of “all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications” and “directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of [former FBI director] James Comey, [former acting director of the FBI] Andrew McCabe, [former chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section] Peter Strzok, [former FBI lawyer] Lisa Page, and [former associate deputy Attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force] Bruce Ohr.”

This, as Nichols explains, is obstruction of justice: “Interfering in an ongoing federal investigation with the purpose of subverting the inquiry represents a classic case of obstruction of justice.”

Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly attempted to interfere with congressional investigations into his conduct and that of his administration. His attempts to obstruct justice are well documented and ongoing, and this most recent example only seeks to strengthen the case for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.

Nichols compares Trump’s actions to that of Richard Nixon, who resigned before he could be impeached.

In Nixon’s time, Republicans joined Democrats in moving to hold a Republican president to account for obstruction of justice. These are different times. But there can be no excuses for members of Congress, no matter what their partisanship, who fail to recognize that the impeachment power exists to address precisely so lawless a presidency as that of Donald Trump.

John Nichols is right. This is not an issue of partisanship. The impeachment power exists for this very reason and both Democrats and Republicans must stand in support of the Constitution.

Read the article here.

Ron Fein to NBC Think: No need to wait on impeachment

Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein was recently joined by NBC Think to discuss the call on Congress to begin an impeachment investigation of President Trump.

There’s no need to wait for secret tapes or the conclusion to the Russia investigation, says Ron Fein, co-author of “The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.” Congress already has all of the evidence it needs to start impeachment proceedings.

Watch the video below!

The Nation: Brett Kavanaugh Should Be Impeached

In a recent article in The Nation, John Nichols cited our campaign calling on Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Judge Brett Kavanaugh for committing perjury.

Nichols discusses the background of the call for impeachment proceedings. He details how, during his confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006, Kavanaugh was questioned regarding an incident in which private computer files of Senate Democrats were hacked and stolen. These files were “used to assist in getting President Bush’s most controversial judicial nominees confirmed.”

But Free Speech For People Legal Advisory Committee member, Lisa Graves, the chief counsel for nominations for the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during that period, recently stated in an article in Slate:

Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material.

Kavanaugh continues to deny his knowledge of the stolen files in current Supreme Court confirmation hearings, despite evidence to the contrary. In his piece, Nichols highlights our campaign to launch impeachment proceedings against the judge. Nichols further cites our memorandum to argue that federal judges can be impeached and removed from the judiciary for committing perjury:

The Framers of the US Constitution understood that corruption in the process of obtaining a federal office is an impeachable offense… Judge Kavanaugh’s perjury in the process of obtaining his current position on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, should…lead to his removal from the federal judiciary and should disqualify him from ever holding a future federal office.

There is precedent for impeaching judges who have committed constitutional violations and perjury, and there is sufficient evidence that shows Kavanaugh lied under oath. The solution is to launch impeachment proceedings against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Sign our petition now to encourage Congress to act!

Congressman Al Green and Ron Fein on Bigotry and Impeachment

On September 13, 2018, Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein presented at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. The special forum, “Impeachment: A Necessary Remedy for Bigotry in Policy,” featured honorary host, Congressman Al Green, Ron, and Distinguished Professor of History at American University, Allan Lichtman.

To hear Ron’s remarks, watch the Facebook Live video below. To watch this video on Facebook, click here.

HuffPost: Trump’s Mental Incapacity Is No Defense To Impeachment

In a recent op-ed in the Huffington post, Ron Fein, Free Speech For People Legal Director and co-author of The Constitution Demands It, discusses Trump’s capacity to serve and the “Trump Defense.”

Citing Bob Woodward’s new book and numerous claims from Trump’s staff and lawmakers, Fein discusses the possibility of Trump’s incapacity to serve as president. But focusing on his mental state as grounds for removal from office may have an unexpected, negative consequence:

“We have never tested whether incapacity alone is grounds for impeachment. And under the over-criminalized view of impeachment promoted by congressional leaders of both parties, Congress’ impeachment power takes a back seat to a prosecutor’s decision of whether to charge Trump with a crime. But that might create an even more perverse consequence, in which Trump’s incapacity could be used as an argument against impeachment.

Call it the Trump Defense. Trump’s lawyers may argue that he is incapable of forming the necessary state of mind (mens rea) to commit impeachable crimes such as obstruction of justice or conspiracy to violate election law.”

While Fein acknowledges that a jury may not buy the “Trump Defense,” he goes on to emphasize that it should not be relevant at all:

“The lesson is that impeachment does not require a criminal mental state because impeachment is not about crime or punishment ― it is about protecting the country.

The Trump Defense’s logic is ridiculous: The president’s mental incapacity means no criminal charges, and no criminal charges mean no impeachment. Yet by abdicating its constitutional responsibility of impeachment, Congress leaves the door open to this absurd gotcha.

The solution is simple: Congress needs to stop confusing impeachment with criminal prosecution — and stop using Mueller as an excuse to avoid its constitutional duty to conduct its own impeachment investigation. The framers of the Constitution entrusted the impeachment power not to a prosecutor but to Congress. And allowing Trump continued access to power as he spirals further into madness might be, as Madison prophesied, fatal to the republic.”

As Ron Fein asserts, Congress must begin its own impeachment investigation of President Trump now. We do not need to wait for Mueller’s criminal investigation, nor do we need to focus on Trump’s mental state. We have all the evidence we need to begin an investigation and Congress must act.

John Bonifaz on Rising Up With Sonali: Call for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment

On September 11, 2018, John Bonifaz, Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People spoke with Sonali Kolhatkar on her program, Rising Up with Sonali, regarding our recent call for an impeachment investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Watch the discussion below and sign our petition calling on Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

BREAKING: New Campaign for Impeachment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Evidence has emerged that Judge Brett Kavanaugh lied repeatedly under oath to the US Senate Judiciary Committee in his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and in his 2018 confirmation hearings to serve on the US Supreme Court. Kavanaugh should face impeachment proceedings for committing perjury before the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

As Lisa Graves, who served as chief counsel for nominations for the Democratic minority of the Senate Judiciary Committee during George W. Bush’s time as president, has written:

Newly released emails show that while he was working to move through President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees in the early 2000s, Kavanaugh received confidential memos, letters, and talking points of Democratic staffers stolen by GOP Senate aide Manuel Miranda. That includes research and talking points Miranda stole from the Senate server after I had written them for the Senate Judiciary Committee as the chief counsel for nominations for the minority.

Receiving those memos and letters alone is not an impeachable offense.

No, Kavanaugh should be removed because he was repeatedly asked under oath as part of his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for his position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about whether he had received such information from Miranda, and each time he falsely denied it.

At the end of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote: “Brett Kavanaugh used materials stolen from Democratic senators to advance President Bush’s judicial nominees. He was asked about this in 2004, 2006 and this week. His answers were not true.”

Federal judges, including US Supreme Court Justices, can be impeached and removed from the judiciary for committing perjury. Federal Judge Thomas Porteous was impeached by the US House and convicted (90-6) by the US Senate in 2010 on grounds which included that he “knowingly made material false statements about his past to … the United States Senate … in order to obtain the office of United States District Court Judge.” The Senate subsequently voted to disqualify him from ever holding federal office again.

The Framers of the US Constitution understood that corruption in the process of obtaining a federal office is an impeachable offense. In the constitutional debates over the impeachment power, George Mason asked rhetorically: “Shall the man who has practised corruption & by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment, by repeating his guilt?” Judge Kavanaugh’s perjury in the process of obtaining his current position on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, should, as with Judge Porteous, lead to his removal from the federal judiciary and should disqualify him from ever holding a future federal office.

Click here to sign our petition calling on Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!

Ron Fein on the Washington State #Indivisible Podcast

On August 30, Ron Fein, Free Speech For People Legal Director and co-author of The Constitution Demands It, sat down with The Washington State #Indivisible Podcast to discuss the book and impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

From podcast host, Stephan Cox, “In our wide-ranging discussion, we talk about what the framers intended with impeachment, and about how, while each of Drumpf’s [sic] transgressions may not precisely rise to the level of criminal infractions, they add up to a tyrannical abuse of power that the Founding Fathers very much warned us against.”

Listen to the podcast below and visit the #Indivisible Podcast site for more content.

Dissolve Trump’s Company

Free Speech For People announced today that it delivered a letter to New York State Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood on August 24, 2018, calling for an investigation into whether to revoke the corporate charter of the Trump Organization under a New York law that authorizes her to dissolve a corporation for persistently illegal conduct or abuse of its powers contrary to the public policy of the state. These alleged activities, detailed in the letter and in previous correspondence, include money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, facilitating unconstitutional foreign government payments (emoluments) to the president, helping Iran’s Revolutionary Guard evade international sanctions, and concealing a political slush fund by invoicing bogus “legal services.”

The letter sets forth new charges drawn from the federal criminal charges against Michael Cohen, an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, Inc. until 2017, who pleaded guilty on August 21, 2018.  The prosecution’s filing (called a criminal information) details how the Trump Organization conspired with Cohen to violate federal campaign finance law and evade regulatory scrutiny through a fraudulent scheme of concealing “hush money” payments and campaign expenses.

“Cohen’s guilty plea is just the latest evidence piled on top of a mountain of alleged violations by the Trump Organization,” said Ron Fein, Legal Director for Free Speech For People. “The New York attorney general should use her legal authority to file a lawsuit to dissolve the company and revoke its corporate charter.”

“Never in our nation’s history, until now, has a business corporation been effectively merged with the presidency of the United States to enable the president and his family to use the presidency to enrich themselves.  We now know from the sworn statements and guilty plea of Michael Cohen that Donald Trump also used the Trump Organization to carry out and conceal campaign finance violations to help him win the election.  The use of the Trump Organization to facilitate this criminality and corruption is contrary to New York law and it is incumbent on the Attorney General to investigate and take appropriate action,” said Ben Clements, Free Speech For People Board Chair, partner in the Boston law firm of Clements & Pineault, former federal prosecutor, and former Chief Legal Counsel to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

“The integrity of our democracy and public institutions are at risk,” said Jonathan Abady, co-counsel on Free Speech For People’s letters issued today and a founding partner of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady. “The overwhelming evidence of criminal conduct involving the Trump Organization demands an immediate and thorough investigation by the New York attorney general.”

“The New York Business Corporation Law is quite clear,” said Jennifer Taub, Professor of Law at Vermont Law School, Board Member of Free Speech For People, and co-counsel on the letter to the New York attorney general.  “The attorney general can dissolve any New York corporation that conducts its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner. We now have a guilty plea by former Trump Organization, Inc. Vice President, Michael Cohen, implicating the corporation in a criminal conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws. This is just the latest in a long list of allegations of illegality by the Trump Organization. A corporate charter is a right, not a privilege. It’s time to explore dissolution.” 

“New York gives its Attorney General special powers for special cases of rampant fraud. Those powers go back centuries in England, but they are especially appropriate for this case. We have more and more evidence that the Trump Organization is built on a foundation of fraud. The question is just how far that fraud goes, and we need the New York Attorney General to help the public find out through civil investigation,” said Jed Shugerman, Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and co-counsel on the letter.

Free Speech For People had sent three previous letters to Eric Schneiderman, the former Attorney General of New York, detailing the long history of alleged illegal conduct by the Trump Organization, both before and after President Trump’s inauguration. This new letter provides yet more fuel for that investigation. (As a New York state court held in a previous case, violations of federal law can be grounds for corporate charter revocation because “[f]ederal law is as much a law of [New York] State as any specific law enacted by the State Legislature.”).

Free Speech For People is encouraging members of the public to sign a petition urging the Attorney General to pursue this investigation, and to contact her office to voice support:

Click here to download the press release. 

Ron Fein for Democracy Now: Impeachment is Overdue

Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein joined Congressman Al Green and Democracy Now to discuss the  latest in the legal case for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, including our newest ground for impeachment, illegal hush money payments made in violation of the Federal Campaign Finance Act at the request of Trump, per Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen confessed to the payments while pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and a number of other charges.

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