Local governments are creating a movement calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Cities in California and Massachusetts, known liberal territories, have passed resolutions calling for Trump’s removal. While the resolutions on their own are completely powerless, as only the House of Representatives can move for impeachment, the cities are hoping that putting pressure on their members of Congress will steer them towards supporting an investigation of the President.
Brookline became the fifth Massachusetts city to do this, with Newtown expected to follow. In California, Los Angeles, Richmond, Alameda, and Berkeley have taken similar measures. Early efforts started in Amherst, Massachusetts, with the group Free Speech for the People claiming that the President violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by maintaining his business interests while in office.
Now, suspicion surrounding the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and the ensuing investigation have gotten lawmakers in Chicago in the act. Alderman Ameya Pawar introduced a resolution to the city council. Pawar had strong words for the President, telling Politico, “Donald Trump is a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist, and he is attempting to enact policies around his beliefs.”
However, Pawar said, “that’s not why I introduced the resolution calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.” The alderman explained, “I introduced this resolution because President Trump continues to obstruct the investigation into Russian influence over his administration, in his business dealings, and the alleged collusion during the 2016 election. It is time for a full and thorough investigation led by the United States Congress.” Pawar said that when Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, that pushed him to finally take action.
Despite the support Pawar received from 31 sponsors for the resolution, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, thanks to a colleague who may have a competing interest. Alderman Ed Burke, the vice chair of the council’s Rules Committee has pushed against it. Burke’s law firm had previously done work for Trump.
Still, it’s unlikely that any of the current resolutions will have much effect, even if the one in Chicago passes. All of the locales that have passed these measures are already known by their representatives to be left-leaning. It’s not exactly news to their Congressmen that they don’t like Trump. If Republicans got in on the act, however, that could get the attention of lawmakers in Washington.
This could happen in time, depending on how current investigations into the President and his campaign go. Republican Illinois State Senator Sam McCann said that if the facts support it, he’ll call for impeachment, but the evidence just isn’t there yet. “I believe that calling for impeachment this early is a form of hyper-partisanship,” said McCann, a Trump supporter who may run for Governor next year. “If we find out that he is guilty of a crime that is worthy of removing him from office, I’ll be one of the first to call for it. But in this country we’re innocent until proven guilty … let’s give it a chance to play out.”
Waiting for more information would likely give Democrats the best chance of getting what they want, provided there is evidence out there that the President was involved in wrongdoing. The GOP only has a slight majority in the House, so voting to impeach may not be an impossible task, should there be a case for it. Removing a President from office, however, requires far more than pulling a few Republicans. Two thirds of the Senate have to support conviction and decide to remove the President, something that has never been done before. While Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, neither one had enough votes against them to drive them from the presidency.
[Image via ABC screengrab]