Brookline Town Meeting calls on Congress to investigate Trump
Brookline’s Town Meeting voted Thursday to call on Congress to launch an investigation into whether President Trump’s business dealings violate the Constitution.
The measure asks the members of the US House of Representatives to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach Trump for violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by failing to divest himself of his businesses, or place his money in a blind trust, while in office.
“We believe it’s important to pursue these violations of the emoluments clause as a matter of precedent, to make it clear that no president may violate the Constitution with impunity,” Alexandra Borns-Weil told Town Meeting members Thursday.
Borns-Weil, with Lisa Kolarik, were able to bring the measure to Town Meeting for a vote after gathering more than 400 signatures from fellow Brookline residents.
The constitutional provision states that no one holding federal office shall “accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state” without Congress’ permission.
The elected members of Town Meeting voted 158 - 2 in favor of the measure, with 13 abstentions. The town’s selectmen and advisory committee also supported passage.
Kolarik told the Globe the vote shows “we the people have been heard.”
“I think the resolution’s passage reaffirms that we the people want to live in a constitutional democracy that respects the rule of law,” she said in an e-mail.
The resolution passed in Brookline is based on a draft released by Impeach Trump Now, a national campaign that encourages supporters to use the measure as the basis for citizen petitions submitted to local governments.
With Thursday’s vote, Brookline joins local communities including Cambridge, Amherst, Pelham, and Leverett in calling for a Trump probe.
The national impeachment campaign said in a statement last month that three California cities and Charlotte, Vt., have also passed similar calls to investigate the president.
Michael A. Burstein, a Town Meeting member from Brookline’s precinct 12 who voted for the measure, told the Globe he believes local officials have the responsibility to act.
“The fact that this resolution was brought by over 400 regular town voters shows there is widespread approval in town for this resolution,” Burstein said in an e-mail.
The vote comes after a special counsel was appointed to oversee an investigation into whether Trump’s campaign worked with Russia, while the House and Senate intelligence committees have launched their own reviews.