Category Archives: Impeachment

Should Trump be impeached? Here’s what Bay Area members of Congress say

SF Chronicle: What each of our Representatives and Senators have to say about impeachment

Tal Kopan May 2, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington in March. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — With the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the question is before lawmakers: What will they do next?

Democrats are split over whether to move to impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the House, the only chamber of Congress they control. With Republicans opposed to impeachment and in control of the Senate, such an effort would largely be for the purpose of uncovering information that could be damaging to Trump, either politically or in the congressional proceedings.

Here’s where members of the Bay Area delegation — many of whom sit on committees where articles of impeachment would be considered or where investigations would be conducted — stand on whether to try to remove Trump from office.

The speaker is the member with perhaps the most important vote on the matter, as she will likely decide whether the House will proceed to impeachment. She has largely steered her members away from it, saying before the Mueller report’s release that Trump was “just not worth” the consequences of impeachment and telling fellow Democrats after the special counsel’s redacted findings were made public that congressional investigations would come first. “I hate to disappoint some of you, but I’m not struggling with this decision,” she told her caucus.

That approach hasn’t changed. “We’re hyper-focused on transparency and continuing our investigations,” an aide said in a statement, “because the special counsel’s report raises more serious questions about Trump’s relationship with the Russians and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, the administration’s efforts to protect our elections, especially given the purging of key staffers at the Department of Homeland Security, and the effect of Trump’s abuses of power on other areas we think people care about, like the administration’s efforts to sabotage Americans’ health care.”

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord:

“As a matter of principle, I support impeachment and I also believe we need to proceed with the congressional investigations currently under way to get to the truth for the American people,” DeSaulnier said in a statement. “During Watergate, it was congressional hearings that led to the resignation of an unethical president.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto:

Rep. Anna Eshoo. D-Palo Alto, in November 2013. Photo: Stephen Lam / Special to The Chronicle

“As a member of Congress, I must be provided an unredacted copy of the special counsel’s report and all underlying documents in order to make a decision as to whether the House moves to impeach the president, or whether it’s done the old-fashioned American way — impeachment at the ballot box next year,” Eshoo said in a statement.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael:

“We should follow the facts,” Huffman told MSNBC. “We should do this full-throated investigation. We should read the Constitution and remember that our founders anticipated a moment like this and they put the constitutional remedy of impeachment in the Congress for a reason. We can’t just punt that. There is a real downside to that.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont:

“This is not a moment to rush to judgment,” Khanna said in a statement. “Rather, this is a time to be deliberate and methodical in our approach, and gather all the facts before making a determination on articles of impeachment. We need further investigations, public hearings, and potentially contempt proceedings to promote political accountability. Yet again, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has shown outstanding judgment and wisdom in her approach for our caucus.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“Congresswoman Lee believes Trump must be held accountable, strongly supports congressional investigations into the president and his administration’s actions, and believes that impeachment must not be taken off the table,” Lee’s office said in a statement.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: “Impeachment is not just a legal issue, it’s also a political issue,” Lofgren said in an interview on KCBS-AM. She noted that the public largely supported the impeachment of President Richard Nixon by the time he resigned 1974, in contrast to widespread opposition to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

“I don’t know what the Congress and the public will think when we finish the entire review of this,” Lofgren continued. “I think it’s a mistake to try and jump to a conclusion. We’ve got to go in a boring, orderly, thorough fashion and see where we are. When you’re doing impeachment, you’re undoing an election, which is a pretty serious matter, and you don’t do that unless there’s really no choice.”

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo:

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, in New York on Oct. 15. Photo: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

“Clearly the Mueller report was meant to inform Congress’ drafting of articles of impeachment,” Speier said in a statement. “That is why the House must conduct its oversight duty and investigate the damning evidence uncovered by the report and any other evidence of crimes and corruption. Because it’s not just the Senate that wields the power of impeachment, it’s the American public. And the public needs and deserves unvarnished access to the Mueller report, and any other evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, so that they can ‘impeach’ the president in 2020 should the Senate fail to act.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin:

“We’re certainly having a conversation about how we hold this president accountable,” Swalwell said on ABC News’ “The Investigation” podcast. “I wouldn’t say impeachment is off the table.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena:

“The findings presented in Special Counsel Mueller’s report are serious,” Thompson said in a statement. “Congress will continue with our investigations to ensure our constituents get the truth. Nothing is off the table. At the same time, Congress will continue with our responsibility to pass legislation that helps our constituents and our country — we can do both at the same time.”

If the House did vote to impeach Trump, he would be tried in the Senate. Here’s what California’s senators have to say about the possibility of impeachment:

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

“The Mueller report certainly raises serious issues that Congress needs to investigate,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Whether impeachment proceedings should occur can be decided once that process is under way and we’ve learned more. And of course any decision on whether to bring impeachment charges would be made by the House.”

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris:

“I think we have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice,” Harris said on a CNN town hall last month. “I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment.”

Tal Kopan is The San Francisco Chronicle’s Washington correspondent. 

    Video: Rachel Maddow, Senator Elizabeth Warren on impeachment

    Repost from MSNBC Youtube – Rachel Maddow
    [Editor: See this powerful 8-minute video.  Warren is spot on: “We’re not an America that can be politics all the time. There come moments that are serious enough that we have to stop, take a deep breath, and be willing to say, that’s wrong.” Also below, watch Maddow lay out Mueller’s “road map” to impeachment.  – R.S.]

    Senator Elizabeth Warren First 2020 Candidate To Call For Impeachment | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

    2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren talks with Rachel Maddow about her call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. The first 2020 candidate to call for impeachment, Senator Warren says she came to the decision after reading the Mueller report.


    Robert Mueller Report: Outline For Prosecution | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

    Rachel Maddow hones in on Volume II of the Mueller report the day after its release and shows why it could serve as a road map to prosecution after Trump leaves office.


      Donald Trump’s 10 Impeachable Offenses

      Repost from NEED TO IMPEACH
      [Editor: For some of us, this will serve as a good SUMMARY of the miserable daily onslaught of the last 2 years’ news reporting.  I learned from a friend the other day that the onslaught has been too much for her – she STOPPED watching the daily news.  If that describes you, this can be a quick and easy catch-up.  For ALL OF US, this is yet another alarm bell and maybe time to contact our elected representatives!  – R.S.]


      1   Obstructing Justice

      • After taking office, Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to abandon the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election—which the FBI had already connected to Michael Flynn.
      • When Comey refused to alter course, Trump fired him.
      • Trump then admitted the firing was over “the Russia thing” in a televised interview.
      • In a tweet months later, he stated that he “had to fire Michael Flynn because he lied to the FBI”— further affirming that he dismissed James Comey in an attempt to quash the FBI’s investigation.

      Bottom line: Trump has repeatedly attempted to interfere in the Russia investigation, and admitted as much—that’s a clear case of obstructing justice.   SEE MORE

      2   Violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution

      • The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits the president from accepting personal benefits from any foreign government or official.
      • Trump has retained his ownership interests in his family business while he is in office.
      • Thus, every time a foreign official stays at a Trump hotel, or a foreign government approves a new Trump Organization project, or grants a trademark, Trump is in violation of the Constitution.
        • For example: shortly after he was sworn into office, the Chinese government gave preliminary approval to 38 trademarks of Trump’s name. Then, in June, China approved nine Donald Trump trademarks they had previously rejected.
      • And every time he goes to golf at a Trump property, he funnels taxpayer money into his family business—violating the Domestic Emoluments Clause.

      Bottom line: Because Trump never divested from his business interests, he violates the Constitution every time the Trump Organization has business dealings with foreign or American government officials.

      3   Conspiring with Others to Commit Crimes Against the United States, and Attempting to Conceal Those Violations

      • In the middle of the 2016 election, Trump’s son was invited to meet with a Russian national regarding “information that would incriminate Hillary and…would be very useful to” Donald Trump
      • The Russian, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had ties to high-ranking Kremlin officials.
      • Trump Jr. took the meeting. He said, “I love it,” when told Veselnitskaya may have had dirt on Clinton. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner also attended.
      • Federal law prohibits campaigns from soliciting anything of value from a foreign national.
      • After journalists broke this story, Trump personally dictated a public statement on behalf of his son that lied about the intended purpose of the meeting.
      • This relationship between the Trump team and the Russian national raises questions of whether the campaign aided a hostile foreign power’s active operation against the United States.

      Bottom line: Trump tried to cover up his campaign’s contacts with a Russian national—which, at very least, constituted a violation of federal law.

      4   Advocating Violence and Undermining Equal Protection Under the Law

      • When Trump gave cover to the neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville and murdered a protester, he violated his obligation to protect the citizenry against domestic violence.
      • When Trump encouraged police officers to rough up people they have under arrest, he violated his obligation to oversee faithful execution of the laws.
      • When Trump shared anti-Muslim content on Twitter, he violated his obligation to uphold equal protection of the laws.
      • This represents a pattern of disregard for some of the president’s basic responsibilities as defined by the Constitution.

      Bottom line: Trump has demonstrated a pattern of behavior amounting to advocating violence, undercutting equal protection, and, as a result, failing basic Constitutional duties.

      5   Abusing the Pardon Power

      • President Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio amounted to an abuse of the pardon power that revealed his indifference to individual rights and equal protections.
      • Joe Arpaio was convicted for contempt of court after ignoring a court order that he stop detaining and searching people based on the color of their skin, which constitutes a violation of their rights.
      • Pardoning this conviction goes against the Fifth Amendment, which allows the judiciary to issue and enforce injunctions against government officials who flout individual rights.

      Bottom line: Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio violates the Fifth Amendment and harms the guarantee of Constitutional rights.

      6   Engaging in Conduct that Grossly Endangers the Peace and Security of the United States

      • High-ranking administration officials involved in foreign affairs have signaled that Trump does not have the capacity to make informed decisions in the event of a military crisis.
      • Even worse, his actions could spark a needless confrontation stemming from misunderstanding or miscalculation.
      • We see this in full effect every time Trump tweets or makes a public statement taunting and threatening the North Korean regime.
      • The president may be the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” but that does not give him the right to behave in reckless or wanton ways that put millions of lives at risk.
      • If he is unfit to perform his duties as Commander in Chief, he cannot be allowed to remain in the position.

      Bottom line: Trump cannot be permitted to recklessly and needlessly endanger millions of Americans with his unstable behavior.

      7   Directing Law Enforcement to Investigate and Prosecute Political Adversaries for Improper and Unjustifiable Purposes

      • President Trump has repeatedly pressured the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate and prosecute political adversaries like Hillary Clinton.
      • This is not based in concerns with national security, law enforcement, or any other function of his office—it is an attempted power play, plain and simple.
      • There’s no question that this constitutes an outrageous and inappropriate abuse of executive branch powers and serves as clear grounds for impeachment.

      Bottom line: Trump’s threats against political opponents are threats against American democracy.

      8   Undermining the Freedom of the Press

      • President Trump has repeatedly attacked the concept of an independent press.
      • He’s called critical coverage “fake news” and journalists “the enemy of the American people,” made threats to change libel laws and revoke licenses, and his battles with CNN led him to try to interfere in the AT&T/Time Warner merger.
      • This demonstrates his unwillingness to respect and uphold the Constitution, and disdain for the crucial foundations to our free society.

      Bottom line: Trump’s threats against freedom of the press are also threats against American democracy.
      Thanks to Free Speech for People, whose white paper, ‘The Legal Case for a Congressional Investigation on Whether to Impeach President Donald J. Trump,’ served as the basis for this list.

      9   Cruelly and Unconstitutionally Imprisoning Children and their Families

      Bottom line: Trump’s policy endangers thousands of immigrant children and families, and defies basic Constitutional values.
      Thanks to Free Speech for People, ‘New ground for impeachment hearings: cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families,’ served as content for this impeachable offense.

      10   Violating Campaign Finance Laws

      • Donald Trump knew disclosure of his extramarital affairs with Stephanie Cliffords (A.K.A. Stormy Daniels) and Karen McDougal could hurt his chances at winning the 2016 election.
      • At the direction of Trump, Michael Cohen and American Media, Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer bought the rights to the women’s stories and forced them to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements to prevent them from going public.
      • Cohen admitted to making illegal, hush-money payments to hide Trump’s affairs in the fall of 2016, just weeks before the election.
      • Federal prosecutors, and Trump’s co-conspirators Cohen and AMI, all say that Cohen made the payments at Trump’s direction, “in concert with the campaign,” and with the intention of helping Trump win.
      • Trump is unindicted co-conspirator because he directed Cohen to “cause an unlawful corporate contribution” and an “excessive campaign contribution” by paying the two women hush money with the intent to influence the election.

      Bottom line: Trump committed at least two felonies to illegally cheat his way into office.