Berkeley leaders call for Trump impeachment

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council became the third, and largest, Bay Area city to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The Berkeley City Council voted in favor of a campaign to impeach President Trump. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council became the third, and largest, Bay Area city to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

“Every day there’s a new ethical problemĀ that warrantsĀ impeachment,” said Mayor Jesse ArreguĆ­n, who co-sponsored the resolution, with Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, calling for the federal investigation into Trump. Council members Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila asked to be added as co-sponsors during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The mayor’s office cited concerns about how the president has undermined freedom of the press, and had “conspicuous connections with Russian officials,” as some of the reasons the House of Representatives shouldĀ launch an investigation into the possibleĀ impeachment of the president.

The resolution was part of the consent calendar and did not generate much talk at Tuesday night’s meeting. It was approved unanimously along with dozens of other items. Council will now send a copy of the resolution to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California’s 13th District in theĀ U.S. House of Representatives.

“The past couple of months of the Trump Administration have been mired in scandal, lawsuits, and controversy. In the first two weeks alone, 55 lawsuits were filed against the President (compared to 14 lawsuits for the last three Presidents combined during the same period),” according to the councilĀ item. “Polling suggests that the nation is evenly split on whether or not the President should be impeached.”

According to a statement released by the mayor’s office, Berkeley is the third Bay Area city to passĀ an impeachment resolution. It joins Richmond and Alameda in the campaign.

The mayor’s statement described Berkeley as “an epicenter of resistance against the Trump administration.” Two weeks ago, Berkeley divested from all companies that help buildĀ the president’s proposed border wall. It was reportedly the first city in the nation to do so.

“The Council has also voted to oppose any registry based on ethnicity or religion, and condemned the Muslim ban which has since been overturned by the courts,” according to the mayor’s office. “Despite threats of cuts to federal funding, the Mayor and Council have reaffirmed its commitment as a Sanctuary City.”

The mayor said, too, that Trump’s “attempts to threaten extortion on Sanctuary Cities and create a Muslim Ban defies American values.”

Berkeley officials say they believe the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution could be an appropriate basis for impeachment proceedings because it prevents companies owned by an elected official from “making deals with foreign governments.”

The clause was written to keep elected officials from being bribed by foreign governments, according to the council item. Emoluments could include any financial benefit, ranging from monetary payments to the purchase of goods or services, or tax breaks.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleysideā€™s senior editor of news. Email: Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.