Berkeley City Council calls for investigation into impeachment of President Donald Trump

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Berkeley City Council unanimously passed an item last week in support of an investigation into the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The agenda item cited Trump’s efforts to cut federal funds from sanctuary cities, his alleged communication with the Russian government during his campaign and potential conflicts stemming from his business interests, among several other concerns, as reasons for an investigation. The council will send a copy of the resolution to Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

“Every day there’s a new ethical problem that warrants impeachment,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín at the council meeting.

Additionally, the agenda item alleges that Trump has undermined the freedom of the press by referring to media outlets as “fake news” and has provided false information to the American people, such as stating that millions committed voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election without providing evidence.

Berkeley is the third city in the Bay Area to call for an investigation into Trump’s impeachment. In February, Richmond became the first city to call for such an investigation, and the city of Alameda followed in March.

Polling suggests that the country is evenly split on whether Trump should be impeached, according to the agenda item. But while the item was met with cheers at Tuesday’s council meeting, some members of the Berkeley community disagreed that such a resolution is warranted.

Naweed Tahmas, spokesperson for Berkeley College Republicans, said he believes the job of the City Council should be primarily dealing with local issues, rather than engaging in national politics.

“Berkeley City Council should be focusing on the priorities of the city. … We have the problem of affordable housing, we have a homelessness problem,” Tahmas said. “I do think (the resolution is) just political grandstanding at the end of the day.”

But Councilmember Kate Harrison, who co-sponsored the resolution, said there’s value in looking further into the issues cited in the resolution. Harrison added that evidence exists that would justify an investigation, such as Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s reported communication with Russia during the campaign.

The council’s call for an investigation comes after several other actions by Berkeley City Council intended to resist the agenda of the Trump administration, according to Harrison. Last month, Berkeley City Council voted to divest from the companies involved in the Trump administration’s construction of a border wall.

Additionally, the council passed a resolution restricting city resources from being used for federal registries — an item that was drafted in response to the Trump’s repeated statements that he will create a registry of Muslims in the United States.

“(The resolution) has the potential to breed questions about what is happening in Washington,” Harrison said. “We’re serious about asking those questions.”

Jessica Lynn is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessicailynn.