Asked during a televised debate Wednesday night whether or not lawmakers in congress should pursue impeachment for President Donald Trump, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that the president—beginning on “day one”—has already “done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment.”
The debate, hosted by CNN, was among those vying to become next chairperson of the Democratic National Committee at a party convention being held this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ellison, who alongside former Labor Secretary Tom Perez is seen as a top contender for the post, cited the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution as the primary infraction that raises the real prospect of probing the sitting president for committing high crimes and misdemeanors.
“We need to begin investigations not to go after Donald Trump but protect the presidency of the United States to make sure nobody can monetize the presidency and make profit off it for his own game,” he said.
The lawsuit cited by Ellison, brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-partisan public advocacy group, charges that Trump is in direct violation of the emoluments clause every time he receives “cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad.”
Trump’s decision not to fully separate himself from his business empire, explained CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder when the lawsuit was filed last month, put him in breach of the Constitution the moment he took the oath of office on January 20. “His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action,” Bookbinder said at the time.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jerrod Nadler (D-NY) has also called for a congressional inquiry into Trump’s conflicts of interest as well as any and all possible connections either Trump himself, or his campaign or transition team staff, may have had with Russian government officials during last years presidential campaign or since winning the election in November.
As Common Dreams contributor Norman Solomon wrote earlier this month, “Nadler has just put a big toe in the impeachment water. Yet no members of the House have taken the plunge to introduce an actual resolution for impeachment. They will have to be pushed.”