Over the past month, a new basis for an impeachment investigation has arisen. This new ground supplements the three grounds (unconstitutional emoluments, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy stemming from the presidential campaign’s interactions with Russian officials) already identified as grounds for an impeachment investigation in the ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org proposed resolution for Congress.

The fourth ground is advocating illegal violence, giving aid and comfort to white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and undermining constitutional protections of equal protection under the law. This ground is supported by an expanding list of particulars, including but not limited to the following:

On July 28, 2017, in a speech to police officers, the president openly encouraged police to be “rough” with arrested persons. The president stated:

And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. (Laughter.) Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?

This speech was widely understood, including by police chiefs nationwide, as endorsing police brutality, i.e., encouraging police to cause bodily harm to arrested persons and violate their constitutional rights. Furthermore, coming from the president, it also implies that the Department of Justice will de-prioritize enforcement of such police misconduct.

On August 12, 2017, the president gave a statement after the white supremacist rallies and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he criticized violence “on many sides,” thus equating violent white supremacists with counter-protesters. On August 15, he gave an additional statement in which he insisted that there were “very fine people” amongst the marching white supremacists. On August 22, the president gave a speech in which he bemoaned the firing of a CNN commentator (Jeffrey Lord) for tweeting the Nazi salute “sieg heil.” This pattern of statements has been widely understood, particularly by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis themselves, as an expression of implicit support.

On August 17, the president tweeted: “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

The president was almost certainly repeating an Internet urban legend that he had recited during the presidential campaign:

They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem.

Execution of captured prisoners without trial violates the law of armed conflict. While there is no evidence that General Pershing did anything like this anecdote, if done today it would likely constitute a war crime. An imperative to “study” this incident issued by the president, who is defined by the Constitution as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” cannot be dismissed as merely a suggestion that the history faculty at the military service academies should add it to a course syllabus.

Furthermore, the anti-Muslim bigotry evident in the president’s suggestion, when combined with the president’s campaign promise for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country and his administration’s various immigration orders that have been held by multiple federal courts to discriminate against Muslims on the basis of religion, foments religious hatred and undermines the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

The president has a constitutional obligation to protect the citizenry against “domestic Violence” and “Insurrections,” to guarantee “equal protection of the laws,” and to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Taken as a whole, this pattern and course of conduct constitutes an abuse of power and of public trust that justifies a congressional investigation and hearings on whether impeachment is warranted.

 Download the resolution from Impeach Donald Trump Now