The presidency of Donald Trump is against the ropes, and one corner of the nation seems to be yelling "impeach him" the loudest: California.
The White House is defending the president on multiple fronts this week after it was reported that Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to drop part of his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian influencers who sought the defeat of rival candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump's communications office had to defend the president against another report as well, one that had Trump giving otherwise classified information on terror group ISIS to Russian officials only a day after he fired Comey last week.
The revelations appeared to spin the White House into a maelstrom of chaos as the stock market buried its head in the sand yesterday and even Trump's Republican cohorts began to call for further inquiry. In California, state Assemblyman Evan Low of the Silicon Valley introduced a joint resolution that would formally call on Trump to resign.
Low calls the legislation, which would need to pass both California houses, "symbolic," but he says it would also create cover for California Republican members of Congress, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, who might want to join the impeachment movement someday.
"It is Congress that has the opportunity to focus on impeachment," Low says. "They're politicians, and they take the pulse of their communities."
A Public Policy Institute of California survey of likely Golden State voters in March found that 62 percent disapproved of the way Trump was handling his job. Ninety-one percent of Democrats disapproved. And that was before the most recent controversies rocked the White House.
Low says there are possibly three incidents that could be grounds for impeachment: Trump's alleged obstruction of justice for reportedly asking Comey to back off of part of the FBI's Russia investigation; Trump's sharing of sensitive information with Russian officials, possibly putting foreign intelligence assets at risk; and his possible violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the result of continuing to maintain business and financial connections that could be used by foreigners who want to influence the White House. "It doesn't take much to see what's occurring and what we must do," Low says.
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He notes that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were both impeached for obstructing justice — with Clinton's sin far more minor than what Trump allegedly tried to pull off with Comey.
Yesterday former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who's a candidate for governor, responded to a question by a Sacramento Bee reporter about Trump's situation: "If the facts are as reported, yes, the president should and will be impeached if he doesn't resign first."
Meanwhile a group of Angelenos is organizing an "Impeachment March" for Fourth of July weekend. The 11 a.m. event will take demonstrators from Pershing Square to City Hall. The big question for co-organizer Tudor Popescu is: Will July 2 be too late because impeachment could be underway by then?
"I honestly don't know," he says, laughing. "If that's the case, we're gong to turn it into a party."