PETITION TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT REQUESTING THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP BE CENSURED
The undersigned, exercising their inalienable right, deriving from the Magna Carta and enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” do hereby request of each member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives that the Senate and House, separately or jointly, adopt a resolution censuring President Donald J. Trump for the misconduct described below.
The undersigned have concluded, after due deliberation, that President Donald J. Trump, from the day he took office on January 20, 2017 as the forty-fifth President, to the present, has betrayed his obligations to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” and to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" by engaging in the following unlawful conduct, and conduct that contravenes, betrays, disparages and denigrates the values enshrined in the Constitution, and demeans the office of President. Far from embracing our constitutional rights and obligations, President Trump has demonstrated that he lacks allegiance to, respect for, or even knowledge of, those rights and obligations.
1. President Trump acted improperly by
(i) firing Director James Comey of the FBI for refusing to terminate the FBI’s investigation into charges that the Russian Government had sought to influence the outcome of the November 2016 presidential election, and then offering contradictory explanations of the reasons for that firing, one or more of which explanations must have been false.
(ii) interfering in the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, who had been National Security Advisor until his recent firing by the President, by asking FBI Director Comey to terminate that investigation.
(iii) disclosing highly classified intelligence information to Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei. Kislyak, in a private meeting in the Oval Office on May 10, 2017.
(iv) abusing the powers of his office and the integrity and independence of the Justice Department by admonishing Attorney General Sessions for having recused himself from involvement in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
2. President Trump has disgraced his office by repeatedly making false statements publicly in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001 which provides, in relevant part, that "...whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully...makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation...shall be fined,...imprisoned not more than 5 years...or both.
(i) President Trump asserted on March 4, 2017 that his predecessor, then President Barack Obama, had tapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York City. Neither President Trump nor anyone else has offered any evidence to support this claim, which must, therefore, be concluded to have been false.
3. President Trump has ownership, leasehold, licensing or other interests in numerous hotels in Washington, D.C., elsewhere in the United States and abroad in which individuals holding office in foreign governments have stayed and/or enjoyed meals and entertainment, and has thereby violated Article 1, Section 10 (the “Emoluments Clause”) of the United States Constitution. Further, President Trump continues to hold and benefit from his many assets, both foreign and domestic, receiving profits and benefits, such as trademarks, from foreign powers, which constitute wrongfully received emoluments. By engaging in those violations, President Trump has also violated his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
4. President Trump has disparaged, demeaned and ridiculed women, including statements referring to the lack of intelligence and the physical appearance of a television commentator. Such conduct betrays our Nation’s values and undermines the hard-fought equality of women in our Nation.
5. By announcing on May 31, 2017 that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords signed by 195 nations, President Trump has acted recklessly, without justification and contrary to the wishes of the great majority of the American people, and has thereby jeopardized the residents of our country and their descendants.
6. President Trump has refused, and made clear that he will continue to refuse, to disclose his previously filed or future federal income tax returns in violation of a long-standing tradition of disclosure honored by former Presidents. That refusal has deprived and will deprive Congress and the American people of information necessary to determine
(i) whether, and if so, the extent to which, President Trump violated the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution;
(ii) the President’s past, continuing and future relations with foreign individuals and entities; and
(iii) the personal impact on President Trump of any proposed amendments to the Internal Revenue Code.
7. From the moment of his inaugural address to date, President Trump has publicly and repeatedly disparaged and defamed his predecessor as President, members of Congress, the Judiciary, Government officials, political opponents, members of the press, and other individuals in a crude, and insulting manner. In addition, he has called into question the legitimacy of the other equal branches of our government, so as to undermine seriously these institutions in the eyes of our people and the world. Thus he has made us fear that our nation is headed in the direction of becoming an authoritarian dictatorship.
8. In June, 2016, Donald Trump’s agents, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, willfully, knowingly, and improperly, sought to obtain from Russian government sources, damaging information regarding Hillary Clinton for the purpose of aiding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. On July 13, 2017 President Trump defended the foregoing improper actions.
9. Encouraging law enforcement officers to physically abuse arrested suspects in violation of existing police rules and regulations and the Due Process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and reversing the Obama administration's policies seeking, through litigation, to curtail certain police department misconduct such as the excessive use of force, as in the case of the Chicago Police Department.
10. Imposing an immigration ban based upon religious discrimination in violation of the First Amendment's protections of freedom of religion.
11. Imposing a ban upon transgender people from serving in the military in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
12. Encouraging violence and showing disdain for core American values by stating that Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and their racist allied protesters in Charlottesville included "very nice people."
13. Exhibiting disdain for the Constitution and the judicial process by pardoning former Phoenix Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who had been held in contempt of court by a federal judge for acting in "flagrant disregard" of the court's order directing that Arpaio's department cease engaging in racial profiling.
14. Callously and cruelly withdrawing the protections of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Executive Order from approximately 800,000 "Dreamers," thereby subjecting them to family and job disruption and possible deportation.
15. Recklessly and crudely urging the owners of National Football League franchises to discharge players for exercising their constitutional, statutory, and contractual rights to engage in silent non-violent protests against discrimination prior to games;
16. Threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea and annihilate its entire population, thereby suggesting genocide in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law;
17. Attacking Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for her pleas for additional federal assistance in response to its humanitarian crisis created by Hurricane Maria, threatening to withdraw federal assistance to Puerto Rico, and suggesting that Puerto Rico’s residents were not doing enough to help themselves;
18. Ending Federal Affordable Care Act subsidies amounting to about $7 billion in fiscal year 2017, and $10 billion in 2018, according to the Congressional Budget Office, so as to deprive low income citizens of health insurance.
19. Seeking to interfere with due process of law, as stated by Senator Bob Corker, by “pressuring...the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against [President Trump’s] political adversaries, and calling for punishment of alleged criminals before trials take place,” which in Senator Corker’s view “are totally inappropriate.”
20. Publishing inflammatory videos prepared and distributed by an ultra-right wing British group, Britain First, on November 21, 2017, which alleged to show Muslims committing acts of violence, of which Senator Lindsey Graham (R. S.C.), said constituted “legitimizing religious bigotry,” and British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned for promoting racism and bigotry;
21. Tweeting an attack upon the integrity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as being in “tatters,” on December 2, 2017, and lamenting that: “General [Michael] Flynn [Trump’s former National Security Advisor], lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed . . .,” after Flynn pled guilty in federal court to the felony of making “materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations . . .” to the FBI concerning discussions he had with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, which impeded then pending FBI investigations;
22. Endorsing and campaigning for a candidate for the United States Senate from Alabama, Roy Moore, who has praised the slavery era, proposed banning Muslims from Congress, was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders, and who has been credibly accused by several Alabama women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers and when he was in his thirties;
23. Withdrawing some two million acres of land from two national monuments in Utah, Grande Staircase – Escalante and Bears Ears, both of which have magnificent landscapes and priceless Native American artifacts, and have been protected from mining and development. Such withdrawal already has become the subject of lawsuits brought by environmentalists and Native American groups, seeking to declare President Trump’s actions illegal;
24. Issuing an anti-Native American racist slur against Senator Elizabeth Warren, at a White House ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers on November 27, 2017, which was deeply offensive to Senator Warren and Native American communities.
25. Declaring in a sexist manner that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had come to his business office “begging” for political contributions and that she “would do anything for them.”
26. Selecting multiple unfit and dangerous federal judicial nominees for lifetime appointments, including Brett Talley who has never tried a case in court and received an unqualified ranking by the non-partisan American Bar Association and Jeff Mateer who has previously described transgender youth as part of "Satan's plan”.
27. After having acknowledged in November, 2017, that as President he was “not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” in connection with its investigations, he told the New York Times on December 28, 2017, that “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”
28. Telling the press on December 15, 2017, that “I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens,” which may be construed as a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512 (b), which declares: “Whoever...corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to-influence..or prevent the testimony of any person, in an official proceeding...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” Thus, Trump may have been signaling to Flynn that how, and whether, he testified before a grand jury or otherwise in the current Mueller investigation would influence Trump regarding pardoning Flynn.
29. Threatening North Korea by “tweeting” that he had “a Nuclear Button” that is “ much bigger and more powerful” than North Korea’s “and [his] Button works!”
30. Demanding that an author and publisher cease publishing a book critical of him, and demanding a retraction and apology from them, thereby seeking to impose a prior restraint upon them, and “chilling” them in their exercise of their First Amendment rights.
31. Publicly insulted 25-year California Senator Diane Feinstein in a tweet on January 10, 2018, by calling her “sneaky” and declaring that she had made public the Glenn Simpson Congressional hearing transcript “in an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, [which] is a disgrace,” and suggested that Senator Feinstein had done so because she faced a “tough Primary;”
32. Declared on January 10, 2018, that our libel laws are a “sham” and a “disgrace” and that he would take a “strong look” at changing them, when in fact the laws he referred to are subject to the First Amendment to the Constitution as well as well-settled Supreme Court doctrines and decisions such as New York Times v. Sullivan, which declare that with regard to proving a defamation case brought by a public figure, the publisher must have published the statement with malice, consisting of knowledge of the falsity of the statement or proceeding in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity thereof;
33. Declared in the crudest and most racist possible terms at a meeting on January 11, 2017, with members of Congress discussing immigration legislation, that Haiti and certain African countries were undesirable sources of immigrants and that he preferred immigrants to the United States to come from countries such as Norway, which have overwhelmingly white populations;
34. It has been reliably reported that in June 2017, President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Mueller but did not implement his order because White House Counsel Donald McGahn told Trump that he would resign if Trump forced McGahn do so. This provides further evidence that Trump had the intent of obstructing the due administration of justice in connection with Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation of members of Trump’s administration by dismissing Mueller. Trump sought to cover up this report by describing it as “false-news.”
35. Publicly charged on February 2, 2018, that “ the top leadership and investigators of the Justice Department and the FBI have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans...” at a time when his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying to the FBI, and Trump and others in the White House are under investigation by Special Counsel Mueller for obstruction of justice in connection with Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and helping Russia interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
36. Declassifying material contained in a memorandum prepared and released by Congressman Nunes attacking actions by the Justice Department and FBI in obtaining a judicial warrant to engage in surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, thereby wrongfully using the power of the presidency to thwart an investigation of him and his presidential campaign. Trump’s action was described by Senator John McCain as undermining the rule of law and “helping Putin.”
37. At an official White House visit and speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 5, 2018, President Trump accused Democrats in Congress of being “un-American” and “treasonous” for having declined to applaud during his recent State of the Union address to Congress.
38. Calling the claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election a “hoax” and “a made up story,” and failing to direct action and sanctions against further Russian election interference in the face of massive evidence reported upon by the American intelligence community and in special counsel Mueller’s lawsuit filed against the Russian perpetrators on February 16, 2018.
39. Praising Communist China’s dictator, Xi Jinping, for having appointed himself “President for life,” and for being “a great gentleman,” and also proposing that “Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday!” at a political fundraiser at his Florida golf resort on March 3, 2018, where he received applause for his remarks. Trump also praised Xi for being “the most powerful president of China in 100 years.”
40. At a political campaign rally on March 10, 2018, near Pittsburgh, Trump insulted and offended California Congresswoman Maxine Waters by describing her as a “low- I.Q. Individual,” and once again referred to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in a racially derogatory and insensitive way, as “Pocahontas.”
41. Spitefully conspired with Attorney General Sessions to discharge FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe two days prior to his birthday, which was the date he planned to retire and become eligible for his pension, all in violation of Session’s decision “to recuse [himself] from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States,” since McCabe’s discharge related to his investigations of 2016 Presidential election matters.
42. Despite the advice of his national security advisors not to congratulate Russian President Putin for his recent “election” victory, and having imposed sanctions against Russia on March 19, 2018, Trump nevertheless applauded Putin for having been elected as Russia’s President in a phone call with him the next day, which caused Senator John McCain to declare that “an American President does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.”
43.Calling the enforcement of a subpoena and an investigation by the Justice Department, Special Counsel Mueller, and the FBI, seeking attorney-client documents of President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, on April 9, 2018, a “witch hunt,” a violation of “everyone’s rights,” an “an attack upon our country,” and attorney-client privilege, notwithstanding that a federal magistrate authorized such subpoena and investigation based upon a showing by the Government of “probable cause” of the commission of crimes by Cohen, and/or others, related to the investigation of wrongdoing by Special Counsel Mueller.
44. By declaring on May 23, 2018, that those NFL players who choose not to stand, and kneel instead, during the playing of the national anthem, “maybe shouldn’t be in the country,” President Trump showed his contempt and disrespect for the exercise of First Amendment rights by citizens, intended to protest racial injustices and other perceived wrongs in our political system. In addition, he was lending support to the NFL and its team owners who adopted a policy of disciplining players for exercising their Constitutional rights in the foregoing manner.
45. By falsely claiming that an investigation by federal law enforcement into Russian interference in the conduct of the 2016 Presidential election constituted spying on his campaign, President Trump deliberately and knowingly distorted the facts to make it appear that he was the victim of misconduct by governmental agencies. In fact, former National Security Advisor James Clapper responded that Trump’s allegation was Orwellian in nature and a total fabrication, and that the investigation was undertaken solely to determine whether there was Russian interference in the election, which Clapper described as being so massive as to have affected the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor.
46. By declaring in a dictatorial manner on June 4, 2018, that “the appointment of Special Counsel [Mueller] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” and that “I [Trump] have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” Trump demonstrated that he believes himself to be above the law, and accountable to no one, in gross derogation of our Constitutional system of government, the separation of powers and the rule of law.
47. Falsely asserting in a May 26, 2018 tweet that under a “horrible law” which he said was “bad legislation passed by the Democrats” but in fact does not exist, the Federal Government is required to separate hundreds of children, including toddlers, from their parents at U.S. borders and incarcerate and hold them when they and their parents enter the United States seeking sanctuary or otherwise, and continuing to do so when the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared such treatment of children by the United States to constitute a violation of International Law and the rights of the children involved.
48. President Trump proposed that migrants who seek asylum in this country or enter illegally simply should be expelled from this country summarily at the border rather than receiving the hearing that they are entitled to under applicable law, declaring that that they should immediately be sent home “without Judges or court hearings.”
49. In a freewheeling campaign meeting in Montana early in July, 2018, Trump extolled his own campaign slogans and compared them favorably to former President H.W. Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” program encouraging voluntarism, declaring “What the hell is that?”
50. Shamefully and disgracefully providing “aid and comfort” to the Russian government, and its head of state, Vladimir Putin, by declaring publicly in Helsinki, Finland, in Putin and the world’s presence, that the Mueller investigation was a “disaster for our country,” and publicly rejecting the conclusion of the entire American intelligence community, the Mueller investigation, and Congress, that Putin, and the Russian government interfered by hacking the emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party for the purpose of supporting Trump’s campaign and defeating Clinton. As stated by the Washington Post, by “trashing [our] own country’s justice system, Mr. Trump was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.” And as Senator John McCain declared: “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
51. Continuing to attack the press on July 29, 2018, as the source of “fake-news,” as being “unpatriotic” and the “enemy of the people,” thereby encouraging individuals and groups to attack members of the press while covering events and otherwise,
52. Threatening on July 29 and 31, 2018, and thereafter, to cause a Federal Government shutdown unless Congress appropriates funds to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.
53. Interfering with the independence of the Federal Judiciary by commenting publicly that Paul Manafort, who is being tried criminally, is being treated unfairly by the judicial branch, and declaring that the Mueller investigation’s prosecution of Manafort is a “hoax.”
54. Calling upon Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “stop this rigged Witch Hunt,” [Mueller Investigation] before it continues to stain our country any further,” notwithstanding that Sessions is recused from having anything to do with the ongoing Mueller investigation.
55. Praising his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as a “brave man!” for refusing to “break” under government pressure after Manafort was convicted by a federal jury of eight felony counts of tax evasion and bank fraud in Virginia on August 21, 2018. On September 14, 2018, Manafort agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts in Washington, D.C. and to cooperate with the Mueller investigation,despite Trump’s praise.
56. Attacking his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, on September 3, 2018, because two Republican members of Congress, Chris Collins of New York, and Duncan Hunter of California, were indicted by federal grand juries of corruption charges. Trump complained to Sessions that the timing of the indictments of Collins and Hunter hurt the two Republicans’ chances of re-election in November 2018. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) criticized Trump’s statement saying that: “The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice- one for the majority party and one for the minority party.”
57. Calling his former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, “a crazed, crying lowlife,” and “a dog,” after she claimed that Trump suffered from mental deterioration, and declared that he was a racist and anti-women. Newman had said that Trump “has absolutely no respect for women “ or “for African Americans.”
58. Having been identified in open court in New York City by his former lawyer and confidante, Michael Cohen, as having directed Cohen to make “hush money” payments to two women during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to keep them from speaking out publicly about affairs they claimed to have had with Trump. Cohen pled guilty to federal crimes and presently awaits sentencing. He is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Cohen told the judge in his case that he “participated in this [illegal] conduct for the purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.
59. Declaring that he was revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan because Trump claimed that Brennan had engaged in “erratic conduct and behavior.” Many former national security officials challenged Trump’s move as being a politically motivated effort to retaliate against Brennan for having criticized Trump publicly in the course of exercising his First Amendment rights of free speech. Trump’s action bypassed existing Executive Order 12968 which regulates “Access to Classified Information.”
60. Falsely claiming on September 13, 2018, that the Democrats were responsible for inflating the number of people who died in Puerto Rico in September, 2017, during Hurricane Maria “to make me look as bad as possible.” It is well established that almost 3000 people died in Puerto Rico as the result of the Hurricane. Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, (R-Fla), commented on Trump’s statement as follows: “What kind of mind twists that statistic into ‘Oh, fake news is trying to hurt my image.’ How can you be so self-centered and try to distort the truth so much? It’s mind boggling.”
61. Failing to follow precedent, and thereby causing the American flag not to be flown at half-staff over the White House for the appropriate requisite full week in connection with the death of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) in August 2018, and otherwise failing fully to honor Senator McCain’s death in a timely manner. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared President Trump’s handling of McCain’s death “disturbing.”
WHEREFORE, the undersigned respectfully request that President Donald J. Trump be censured for the acts, statements and conduct specified above.