Donald Trump impeachment effort already underway

The campaign hinges on Mr Trump’s intention to keep his commercial real estate empire intact while in office

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The Independent US

A website with the aim of impeaching the new President of the United States has launched at the same time as the White House website takes down information on LGBT people, climate change and posts inaccurate statistics about rising crime.

The ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org website and movement is being led by two liberal advocacy groups, Free Speech for People and RootsAction, which aim to oust the 45th President from the nation’s highest office.

Within hours of his inauguration, the website was hard to load, perhaps under the swell of user activity.

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The main evidence of their case lies on Mr Trump’s insistence that he will continue to own his golf resorts and hotels whilst in office and then inherit them back from his sons after he leaves office.

Ethics experts, including former ethics counsels to President Barack Obama and President George W Bush, warned that Mr Trump should divest from his commercial holdings and put the assets in a blind trust to ensure he would avoid conflict of interest. Mr Trump is doing neither.

Experts have even warned that Mr Trump would be in breach of the US Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which prevents Presidents from accepting gifts from foreign leaders, as soon as he steps into office. One way in which he was accused of violating this clause was through his hotel business, where foreign leaders could stay and pay expensive prices in the hope it would benefit their relationship with Mr Trump.

"If we were wait for all the ill effects that could come from this, too much damage to our democracy would occur," Ron Fein, legal director at Free Speech for People, told The Washington Post. 

"It will undermine faith in basic institutions. If nothing else, it’s important for Americans to trust that the president is doing what he thinks is the right thing … not that it would help jump-start a stalled casino project in another country."

The head of the previous administration’s office of government ethics, Walter Shaub, said Mr Trump did not consult with his office to conduct his business plan, and described it as "meaningless".

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"OGE’s primary recommendation is that he divest his conflicting assets," he said during a lifestream through the Brookings Institution.

"Nothing short of divestiture will resolve these conflicts. I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the president of the United States of America."

Other organisations have launched large-scale attacks on Mr Trump’s Presidency, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which argue that the 45th President is a threat to minorities, LGBT people, women and others. Planned Parenthood plans to file lawsuits against any erosions of federal law Roe V Wade.

Mr Trump could be impeached if found guilty of violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause, but the case would have to be agreed on by a Republican-led Senate and a Supreme Court which will soon have a conservative majority.

No US President has ever been removed from office through such a process. Bill Clinton was the most recent President to be threatened with impeachment in 1999 but he was acquitted by the Senate.

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