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    Newton council approves resolution calling for Trump probe

    Newton MA: July 10, 2017: Newton residents staged a protest outside of City Hall prior to a City Council meeting, supporting the passing of as resolution calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Globe Staff Photo/ Jim Davis)
    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    Protesters gathered outside City Hall in Newton before city council considered a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

    NEWTON — The City Council voted Monday night for a resolution that urged a congressional investigation of President Trump.

    The nonbinding measure, approved by a 17-6 vote, calls on the House Judiciary Committee to launch an investigation into whether Trump’s business interests have violated the Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses as president, and whether he has obstructed justice.

    The emoluments clause forbids federal office holders from accepting gifts or money from a foreign power.


    “In absence of Congress doing their job, it is absolutely the role of this council to represent the views of their constituents,” said Newton resident Ben Clements, who serves as chairman of the board for Free Speech For People.

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    The resolution contends that Trump violated those provisions, which “undermine the integrity of the presidency, [and] corruptly advance the personal wealth of the president, and violate the public trust.”

    Clements was among some 50 people who rallied in support of the measure outside City Hall before the council meeting. The group was interrupted by a group of counterprotesters who said the City Council should not be involved.

    “We didn’t elect these people in City Hall to get involved with federal politics,” said Janet Sterman. “We elected them to fix the roads [and] keep good schools.”

    In that vein, councilors focused their debate on whether the local board should concern itself with federal matters.


    Councilor Alison M. Leary, who backed the measure, called on her colleagues to do the same.

    “I think it’s really important that we make our voices heard on the part of the Newton residents,” she said. “I think it’s entirely appropriate to [investigate] the actions of the president at this time — I think enough concerns have been raised.”

    But Councilor Allan L. Ciccone Jr., who opposed the resolution, criticized it as part of a national campaign.

    “To be quite honest with you, I was elected to do local business,” he said.

    When the vote passed, cheers filled the council chambers. Margaret Zaleski, a retired district court judge, said Trump has not honored his oath to uphold the Constitution.


    But Sande Young said she supports Trump and dismissed the resolution as “crazy.”

    “They should be spending more time on issues having to do with the city than to impeach Donald Trump,” she said.

    Newton became at least the 14th US community that has formally called for Trump to be investigated. In New England, Charlotte, Vt., and the Massachusetts communities of Cambridge, Brookline, Amherst, Pelham, and Leverett have passed similar measures. Los Angeles and six other cities in California have also formally called for a Trump probe.

    In May, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to investigate Russia’s involvement in the US election. The House and Senate have also launched their own investigations.

    The resolution will now be sent to US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, but it does not require any action on his part.

    Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. John Hilliard can be reached at