Nearly seven pockmarked months in office, the behavior and persona of President Donald Trump remains at best reckless and, at worse, shameful in the eyes of thousands of protestors across the country last weekend.
There are growing numbers of voices from grass-roots organizations to members of Congress publicly calling for Trump’s impeachment and forced removal from office.
Some of those voices in the San Fernando Valley have opposed Trump from the beginning.
A small group of women known as the West Valley Resistance (WVR) gather once a week for private meetings in Woodland Hills. They are working with other anti-Trump groups seeking signatures for petitions calling for impeachment.
A WVR leader who identified herself named Mel (with no last name) said the group was formed by like-minded individuals who participated in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration.
“The West Valley Resistance, from the San Fernando Valley, is comprised of activists, giving up their free time to fight this regime,” she said. In an email, she wrote the following: “We demand that Congress immediately begin an impeachment investigation and are NOT going to stop until Congress stands up and puts country before party. We have the power to unite and demand OUR representatives act on our behalf to protect our democracy from a dangerous man who was elected president based on lies, hatred, fake news, and false promises.”
Trump Under Investigation
Of course it takes more than impulsive tweets, instituting travel bans against Muslims, demeaning women and minorities, savaging the media and offending allies to remove a sitting president. Only two presidents — Andrew Johnson in 1868 for abuse of power, and Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice — have ever been impeached by Congress, and neither was forced to leave office. (Richard Nixon resigned from office
in 1974 with three articles of impeachment drafted for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.)
But Trump — who is in Europe this week for the G20 summit meeting with other world leaders, and who has a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, July 7 — remains under intense scrutiny after records showed his campaign officials and advisers had been repeatedly conversing with senior Russian intelligence officials and other government individuals for months before the election, fueling allegations that the Russians had interfered with the 2016 Presidential race.
Trump is also being investigated for possible obstruction of justice after his firing of former FBI director James Comey as the Bureau was investigating the Russian allegations. And Trump still has not divested himself from all his business interests after taking office.
On May 5, the LA City Council voted 10-0 to pass a resolution authored by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to have Congress investigate whether Trump violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause or committed any other high crimes and misdemeanors that could lead to impeachment.
Four council members — Joe Buscaino, Mitch Englander (the lone Republican on the council), Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz — were not in the council chambers at the time of the vote.
“It is important for the city of Los Angeles to tell this president that no one is above the law and that his sole allegiance must be to our Constitution and the American people,” Blumenfield was quoted as saying after the vote. “It is the right of every American to know that their president is working for their interests and with these sorts of conflicts it is essentially impossible for Trump to not financially benefit from foreign nations.”
Other cities in California, including Alameda, Berkeley, Richmond and West Hollywood as well as Charlotte, VT and Cambridge, MA had passed similar resolutions.
“We jumped on it after we heard the city of Richmond passed the resolution,” Mel said. “It is a process. We’re the seventh city to do it. But LA is the largest.”
Impeachment March in LA
WVR aligned with organizers of Impeachment March Worldwide to help plan and commence an Impeachment March in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 2, that drew several thousand protestors. It was one of 45 such events that took place around the country.
“People were asking for [the march),” said Worldwide organizer Arnold Marin. “So we decided to start an impeachment march in LA, but leave it for other cities to join in.”
This was was different from the Tax March held here in April, Marin said, when protestors were then demanding that Trump reveal his income tax records. “That one had celebrities and other organizations. This is more organic. This is just the beginning.”
Another Worldwide organizer, Stephanie Tatro, said the group has not yet decided its next move.
“[Current plans] are focusing on local organizing and getting people to put pressure on their congressmen to push for impeachment,” Tatro said. “We will keep an eye on how the next few weeks shake out before we strategize our next steps.”
Meanwhile, WVR continues to work with the Impeach Trump Now organization, whose website has set up an online petition calling for Congress to investigate the president, a petition they say already has more than a million signatures.
They have also gathered outside of the field office of Rep. Brad Sherman on Thursdays to show support, after the congressman drafted articles of impeachment and circulated them through the House in June.
“He is getting a lot of pushback so we want him to know we are there to support him,” Mel said.
An actual impeachment of Trump is considered a long shot. Both branches of Congress are controlled by the Republicans, and a majority in the House and the Senate would have to agree to draw up articles of impeachment and potentially remove Trump from office.
But the West Valley Resistance said it would keep applying pressure and rallying public sentiment to the cause.
“At first it just the diehard [opposition]. But it is growing from what has transpired in White House,” Mel said. “Some people are very afraid of [Vice President Mike] Pence succeeding Trump. But impeachment is necessary.
“We’re seeing more public support, especially in LA and the Valley. Our motto is, ‘The Valley Girls Will Teach To Impeach.’ We have several cities in the county. This is a movement. The more cities that sign on will give a stronger message to Congress.”