LA City Council Wants to Impeach Trump: Symbolic Gesture or Overreach?

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--In a 10-0 vote Friday, the city council passed a resolution authored by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield  appealing to Congress to investigate whether Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. The resolution also calls for investigations into high crimes and misdemeanors that could lead to impeachment against the president. Blumenfield represents Council District 3, the northwest San Fernando Valley, including Canoga Park, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills. Absent from Friday’s vote were Councilman Mitch Englander, the sole Republican on the Council, as well as Council Members Jose Huizar, Paul Koretz and Joe Buscaino.

Since the election, many are familiar with the Emoluments Clause, also known as the Title of Nobility Clause, which is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution.

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

Trump’s extensive business and real estate dealings have brought concerns, particularly with respect to foreign government agencies that may fall within the clause’s scope. For example, back in March, China granted 38 provisional “Trump” trademarks scheduled to become permanent within 90 days.

Blumenfield worked on the resolution with We st Valley Resistance, which supports investigating Trump for possible impeachable offenses; similar resolutions have passed in other cities and towns across the country, including Richmond, Alameda and Berkeley, as well as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

While Trump has issued statements that the Trump Organization would be donating any profits derived from foreign government guests at his DC hotel to the Treasury and that his organization would not enter into any deals with foreign governments during his term, the Trump Organization is opening a 57-story Trump Tower in Manila and a spokesman for Blumenfield says the president’s relationship with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte should be investigated. Duterte has been criticized for alleged human rights violations against suspected drug dealers in his country.

While the council resolution is only symbolic, the Trump presidency is certainly a game changer. We’ve yet to see a president and an administration with so many questionable actions and conflicts. Whatever messages we can send to Washington, whether involving Emoluments Clause violations or high crimes and misdemeanors seem to be fair game.

(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.)