Council Resolves to Investigate President

 

The City Council passed a resolution seeking a Congressional investigation of President Donald Trump regarding possible Constitutional violations. The council unanimously passed the resolution that can potentially lead to the president’s impeachment if violations are found. 

The council drafted the resolution at its March 7 City Council meeting. An investigation would look into the president’s business dealings, both foreign and domestic, and his possible ties to Russia.

“Various reports have alleged that President Trump may be in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause,” the resolution states. “Information has become public that President Trump and his associates may have colluded with foreign authorities to coordinate illegal efforts to influence the outcome of the election. These alleged conflicts of interest and activities could be in violation of the Constitution.”    

The foreign emolument clause Article I, and the domestic emolument clause Article II of the constitution refers to an officer of the United States, including the president, being prohibited from receiving presents; i.e. gifts, profits or favorable gain; from foreign governments or the United States. Many believe Trump’s business dealings are in conflict with these two clauses. Trump has received hundreds of millions in tax breaks from the United States for his domestic hotels and golf resorts. After being elected president, Trump said he would not divesture his Trump Organization Company, but will hand over managerial duties to his children.  

The resolution was originally dubbed an impeachment resolution with the understanding that the council did not have the authority to facilitate an impeachment, but rather just to send a message to Congress and the president. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach, while the Senate tries the case. This caused several members of the council to not support it initially. 

“I struggled with this,” said Councilmember Frank Matarrese. “If I thought this resolution would do something I would jump on it right now.” 

Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft shared similar beliefs. “A symbolic resolution is not going to have the impact it’s needed to have,” said Ashcraft. “My concern is the staff time will take away from other pressing issues the council needs to address.”

Then, Councilmember Jim Oddie, who brought up the agenda item with Vice Mayor Malia Vella, clarified the actions of this resolution.

“We’re not asking to impeach, we’re asking to investigate,” said Oddie. 

The council sent Congresswoman Barbara Lee, whose district includes Alameda, a copy of the resolution hoping to empower her to gain the support from Congress to run an investigation.

“We have a very strong voice, and that is our Representative Barbara Lee,” said Mayor Trish Spencer. 

Courtesy copies will be sent to California’s U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein.

Dozens of residents spoke in favor of an investigation and impeachment of Trump at the meeting. 

“What we have at stake is our democracy,” said Alameda resident John Ota. “We need to take action to protect the Constitution.”

However, not all speakers were in support of impeachment.

“I can’t believe you put such a stupid resolution on the agenda,” said resident Steve Slauson. “This has nothing to do with running the City of Alameda.”

Last month, the City of Richmond unanimously backed a similar resolution.