CALLS for Trump’s impeachment have soared sky high after James Comey’s damning testimony before senate’s intelligence committee. As Trump’s political wounds add up, his limited political capital erodes, giving way to talks of impeachment. His dubious firing of FBI Director James Comey, allegations of leaking information to Russia, and repealing Obamacare are heavy lifts that have undermined his position as new president. As obstruction of Mike Flynn’s probe gathers steam, political winds have started to shift. Trump’s decision to Fire Comey may well become his Watergate moment. The word impeachment has been tossed around an awful lot but there is more to it than meets the eye. When you talk of impeachment, you are talking about verifiable facts, not personal likes and dislikes. One of the biggest challenge Trump’s presidency faces is the unprecedented level of conflict of interest his business holdings present. Donald Trump is a business magnate with personal and business holdings around the globe. Banks, Post offices, business suites, and residential apartments: you can’t mention any of those without mentioning Trump. The US constitution, in a bid to mitigate foreign influence, forbids office bearers from accepting compensations from foreign states. The restriction has wider implications though. It covers not just favourable deals but transactions at arm’s length too. Trump towers in Turkey, licensed by Trump organization, are the most prominent examples of Trump’s foreign income. One of them is an office tower occupied by businesses based in Europe and Middle East and the other houses 200 residential apartments. The developer of Trump tower, a Turkish billionaire pays Trump for the use of his name. After the ban on Muslims, the owner has called for dissociation, but you get the idea. The steady stream of income from across the border and the massive business empire brought forth by the president presents a complex interplay of business interest with national interest. Commercial Bank of China which is a state owned Chinese bank is a major tenant of Trump building. It is also a major lender to the empire. The rental income and line of credit both pose threat to his independence. As for the Trump tower licensing contract in Manila, payments solicited from the licensing deal are essentially foreign emoluments. The constitution goes on to say that the president cannot receive emoluments from the United States. Emoluments here include favourable regulatory action. Trump’s decision not to divest from businesses that receive tax breaks and subsidies from US government may be a violation of the emolument clause. According to New York Times, starting 1980, these benefits add up to $885 million in tax breaks and subsidies received from the U.S government. The constitution also says that no elected official of the U.S government will be entitled to any benefit from a lease. And the Washington DC’s old post office that is under a lease from Trump could be in direct violation of this clause. The president had ten full weeks between elections and inauguration to divest from his business concerns but he chose to only step away from operations. He still owns the businesses and is entitled to economic benefits that flow from them. Sooner or later, any US president with a business background will need to divide his presidential duties from his business interests. Not doing so will threaten national interest; It will undermine the integrity of executive branch and will be an outright abuse of public trust. No one, not even the president is above law. This principal is the bedrock to almost any constitution. Allowing a president to stay in office while he or she continues to defy the rule of law not only goes against the fabric of democracy but is an obvious disregard of a president’s oath to defend constitution. If action has already been taken to mitigate these conflicts, good. If not, timely action should help prevent seemingly minor issues snowballing into major threats. Those who voted for Trump knew he would make mistakes a seasoned politician won’t. But given how bad people wanted radical change, the trade-off was more than welcomed. But as soon as he scored a major political victory, things started to change for worse. Impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. Framers of constitution entrusted this process to legislatures instead of courts. An impeachable offence is therefore anything the congress considers to be impeachable. To deflect attempts to impeach him Trump will need to win public support and strengthen his congressional clout. He will need to deliver on promises and make sure his policies are consistent with campaign promises. Impeachment is no one’s first choice. It can vandalize democratic electoral prospects. We all know the loss Republicans suffered when Bill Clinton was impeached. Impeachment at this stage may be political overreach but republicans seem to have started distancing themselves from the president. I know he still has arrows in his quiver but if he continues down this road, his party’s political image will suffer further erosion resulting in supporters abandoning him in droves. Published in Daily Times, June 21st, 2017.