Democrats in the House of Representatives released new documents last week which they say provide proof that President Donald Trump was directly involved in canceling plans developed by the federal government to sell the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
There is evidence that Trump intervened to prevent developers from building a new property at a location that would compete with Trump’s Hotel. If he did, that could be an impeachable offense.
Democrats now say that if they take back the House this fall, they will request even more documents that prove Trump’s illegal conflicts of interest. They have said they will require FBI and General Services Administration (GSA) officials to testify under oath. And they might even pass legislation that would block the administration from moving forward with the rebuilding plan that Trump approved.
Investigations into the conflicts surrounding the FBI building decision are just one example of the ways that Democrats could make life very difficult for the president if they win House control. With them in charge, they will have the ability to conduct the kind of rigorous oversight of the Trump administration which has been lacking, but which is sorely needed.
“This is something the White House and incoming counsel Pat Cipollone need to buckle in for,” David Urban, a former Trump campaign strategist. “There’s gonna be a lot of this coming. A lot of it.”
With respect to the new FBI building, Democrats say their documents show the decision was approved during an Oval Office meeting between Trump and GSA officials on January 24, 2018.
The documents include emails that describe the project as what “the president wants” and “what POTUS directed everyone to do.” GSA officials are also quoted in emails saying that they were operating “per the President’s instructions.”
Democrats believe that this is evidence that Trump interfered in the procurement process to help his financial bottom line. Trump has been accused many times of conflicts of interest since becoming president.
“President Trump has an obvious conflict of interest, but instead of keeping him as far away as possible from this decision, his top advisors enabled the President, were complicit in these abuses, and withheld the truth from Congress,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.
Last Thursday, in her show on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow made clear that Trump’s conflicts of interest may be impeachable offenses. She said:
“They have nailed down a very solid case I think that I think any prosecutor would take as a president taking official action to benefit his business and then lying about it and then orchestrating a cover-up of it, it’s really cut and dry. This is not something you need to understand this whole sprawling thing about, it’s basically rank basically proven corruption. And Congressman Cummings is a smart guy and savvy guy and politic politician, and I don’t think he’s going to come out before the election and say that’s impeachable.”
Maddow’s comments, along with Cummings views on the subject, make clear that the stakes for the president are very high in the midterm elections. If all of Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest are uncovered by Democrats in Congress there may be overwhelming evidence that the President of the United States has been involved in improper self-dealing. And that may lead to one inescapable conclusion: that Donald Trump should be impeached.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.