Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, August 9, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

Recently we published a post about calling your MoCs (members of Congress) to demand action in the wake of Trump’s astonishingly bad performance at the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin.

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/07/17/call-your-mocs-and-leave-no-doubt-in-their-minds-about-how-you-feel-about-trumps-press-conference-in-helsinki/

 

Since we wrote that post, Pewter updated her original Helsinki sample script to include additional talking points. Top of the list of things to request is ‘Sanctions–stronger than the sanctions enacted before. Should be bipartisan.’

 

Those talking points are below. If you haven’t yet called your MoCs about Helsinki, please do, and include a request for new, tougher Russia sanctions in your discussion. If you have, and didn’t have these talking points at hand, call again and ask for these things.

 

Standing accumulated text on the original sanctions, what Trump did and failed to do, and why his failure is scary and important follow after the Pewter talking points.

 

 

Sarah Jane here. While I was sick with the flu back in January 2018, I wrote a few posts asking folks to call their MoCs and demand that they pressure President Trump to impose the sanctions on Russia for meddling with the 2016 election, which Congress passed with a veto-proof margin.

 

Trump’s shrugging off of the deadline and refusal to impose the sanctions has gotten some attention, but not enough, because ridiculous scandals continue to happen.

 

It should not get lost, and I am determined that it won’t.

 

Trump should not be allowed to ignore the will of 530 members of Congress. In my opinion it’s one of the worst, scariest signs of sliding into authoritarianism. We need to push back, and keep pushing back. And given that almost everyone in Congress feels the same way, we have leverage here.

 

Worse, Trump’s blatant shrugging off of the will of 530 members of Congress is evidently being taken as a sign by GOP leadership to remain supine in the face of his disregard for democracy. More than once I recall hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to advance a bill to a floor vote using the excuse that if the Senate voted for it, Trump wouldn’t sign it.

 

THAT IS NOT A REASON TO AVOID FLOOR VOTES, FFS.

 

Anyway. We did see a small amount of progress on March 15, 2018, when the Trump administration accused Russia of hacking vital American infrastructure and imposed sanctions on 19 individuals, including the 13 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted in February 2018. While the move is welcome, it’s not what we’re asking for. The administration still needs to obey Congress and impose the damn sanctions on Russia already.

 

We also saw progress on March 23, when Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that included measures that push back against Russia in various ways. It was also good news when the administration announced it would expel 60 Russian officials from America and close the Seattle consulate over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

 

And as of April 4, we’ve seen reports that the administration might sanction Russian oligarchs. See the stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-impose-fresh-sanctions-against-russia/2018/04/04/bc09e0b8-3851-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.943e72ddd109

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-plans-to-sanction-russian-oligarchs-this-week-sources-idUSKCN1HB34U

 

But! The sanctions that Congress called for have still not been imposed.

 

And! We saw a serious setback on April 16, 2018, when the Trump administration walked back a new round of sanctions against Russia, throwing the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, under the bus in the process. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Counsel, evidently claimed she “might have gotten confused”. Read a New York Times story on the walk-back:

 

Haley, for her part, is Not Having It as of April 17, 2018, when she told CNN, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow later apologized for his remarks. Read a Vox story on Haley’s pushback:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/17/17249652/nikki-haley-russia-sanctions-larry-kudlow-response

 

It’s also worth noting a chilling comment Trump made on June 15, during a White House lawn broadcast of Fox & Friends (noting that for future historians, who will boggle at it). When asked about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, he said:

 

“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

 

Trump himself later tried to downplay the utterance it by calling it sarcasm. [Attempting to blunt the impact of horrible comments by retroactively claiming they’re jokes is a classic strategy of bullies and abusers.] Conservative commentators have tried to soft-pedal it by claiming that Trump was talking about his own staff, not American citizens at large.

 

Given all the other things Trump has said and done, both as a candidate and as president, we at OTYCD are not taking it as sarcasm, or as a reference to how he wants White House staff to behave. He admires dictators. He doesn’t seem to care what dictators do to their people to force obedience.

 

We at OTYCD will continue to devote at least one post per week to the Russian sanctions issue until the Trump administration does what Congress told it to do.

 

This is the entry for August 9, 2018.

 

Below is more material from other past posts, plus a Celeste Pewter calling script. Please stay on this, and please spread the word. Thanks!

 

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

After I wrote a combo Nunes memo-Russia sanctions enforcement post yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill got to the heart of the problem in a tweet she sent late on January 29, 2018:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script for that topic:

 

 

Since Celeste prepared that calling script, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 Russian election.

 

Read the Washington Post‘s story about the indictments, which came down on February 16, 2018:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-troll-farm-13-suspects-indicted-for-interference-in-us-election/2018/02/16/2504de5e-1342-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.be1dd2d76f9d

 

The indictments also make Trump’s refusal to impose the sanctions that Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose that much more flagrant and disgusting. It also makes it that much more important that we at OTYCD stay on this topic and spotlight it until Trump finally does what he should have done back in late January 2018.

 

Here I will reproduce more useful info from past OTYCD post that quote Celeste Pewter and Alexandra Erin.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

Here also are Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin)’s January 31, 2018 tweets on the topic:

 

There are a pair of recent moves, from the State Department and the Treasury Department, which suggest that in year two of Trump’s reign, the regime is being a lot less circumspect about being in Putin’s pocket, with less ego-clashing feud and less smoke-and-mirrors resistance.

 

Now, you might recall that back in 2017, Congress passed laws calling for tough new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. There was a lot of speculation about whether Trump would sign this act, but he finally did, grudgingly and complaining the whole time.

 

In the United States system of government, the theory is that Congress passes the law, and the executive branch *executes* them, hence the term. Trump as chief executive is the chief one responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

So guess where this is going.

 

Monday, January 29th, was the deadline for the executive branch to impose the sanctions, as prescribed in the bill that Donald Trump personally signed into canon as the law of the land.

It came and it went.

 

The law called for the Treasury Department to help guide the sanctions by producing an investigative report of oligarchs and businesses linked to Putin.

 

Serious, lifetime-career experts at the Treasury Department prepared that report, which was then thrown out and replaced with a copy of the Russian Forbes 100 list plus a few public Putin associates and a disclaimer that it’s not a list of people who should face sanctions.

 

And Rex Tillerson, secretary of state and obvious Yosemite Sam pseudonym, told Congress that they haven’t imposed actual sanctions because the threat of sanctions is proving an effective deterrent. Slap on the wrist, everybody learned a valuable lesson. No actual penalty.

 

The actual implementation strategy here is to let everyone else know that doing “significant transactions” with certain Russia-linked entities may result in penalties for the other party. But it’s entirely discretionary. No actual rules per se.

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

This gives the Trump regime a valuable tool for looking tough (Trump’s favorite way to look), a free hand for Putin, and a way to arbitrarily impose sanctions on countries or other entities that Trump or Putin want to weaken.

 

With nothing actually in writing about what transactions get penalized, we could easily see a situation where a group that does significant business with the Ukraine and also had an incidental transaction in Russia gets hit with sanctions for violating the unwritten rules.

 

Or anybody backing dissidents and opposition politicians in Russia. The sub-basement floor is the limit with these guys.

 

I don’t think we are quite at “Treasury and State Department overtly help Putin crush his enemies” territory yet. Nope. But one year and change in to Trump’s rule, and we are at “Treasury and State Department overtly shield Putin and his cronies from consequences” territory.

 

And while it’s not a surprising shift, it is a marked shift from where they were last year, and the main thing that has changed is what year it is. Time makes Trump normal. The passage of the year changed his dislike of the sanctions from an outrage to the way things are.

 

And with Trump’s feet-dragging opposition to the sanctions accepted as the new normal, his executive branch failing to execute them becomes a natural progression of time rather than a startling departure from all norms of governance and the rule of law.

 

So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what would the start of a year 3 of Trump look like? How far would he be able to go after his next calendar reset? How far can he push things between now and then?

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

So now what? No further actions!? What can be done?

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

Talk about it. Spread awareness of it. Make sure everybody you know knows that it’s happening. Post it on your Facebook. Put it in an email forward to your uncle. The right does these things, and it shapes the way people think about politics, and vote.

 

Talk is not the only action required, but talk is an action that is required. There is a national discourse. We have to be shaping it.

 

Believe it or not, talking about the regime’s corruption is doing something. Talking about the resurgence of overt Nazism and white nationalism is doing something. Being willing to talk about these things, to label them as they are rather than accepting them as normal, helps.

 

We could be calling Congress to light a fire under them to demand the executive branch actually execute these things, to write newer, more specific, and tougher sanction laws, but to be honest: the public engagement and awareness aren’t there yet to get the critical mass needed.

 

So step one is: talk about it. Talk to people about it. Get people talking about it. The executive branch is flouting the rule of law, Trump is ignoring a law he himself signed into existence.

 

The right has a hundred talking points about why Russian interference doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or helped Clinton or whatever. But none of that addresses the fact that Trump signed this law. He made it the law of the land. And he’s ignoring it.

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, August 2, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

Recently we published a post about calling your MoCs (members of Congress) to demand action in the wake of Trump’s astonishingly bad performance at the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin.

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/07/17/call-your-mocs-and-leave-no-doubt-in-their-minds-about-how-you-feel-about-trumps-press-conference-in-helsinki/

 

Since we wrote that post, Pewter updated her original Helsinki sample script to include additional talking points. Top of the list of things to request is ‘Sanctions–stronger than the sanctions enacted before. Should be bipartisan.’

 

Those talking points are below. If you haven’t yet called your MoCs about Helsinki, please do, and include a request for new, tougher Russia sanctions in your discussion. If you have, and didn’t have these talking points at hand, call again and ask for these things.

 

Standing accumulated text on the original sanctions, what Trump did and failed to do, and why his failure is scary and important follow after the Pewter talking points.

 

 

Sarah Jane here. While I was sick with the flu back in January 2018, I wrote a few posts asking folks to call their MoCs and demand that they pressure President Trump to impose the sanctions on Russia for meddling with the 2016 election, which Congress passed with a veto-proof margin.

 

Trump’s shrugging off of the deadline and refusal to impose the sanctions has gotten some attention, but not enough, because ridiculous scandals continue to happen.

 

It should not get lost, and I am determined that it won’t.

 

Trump should not be allowed to ignore the will of 530 members of Congress. In my opinion it’s one of the worst, scariest signs of sliding into authoritarianism. We need to push back, and keep pushing back. And given that almost everyone in Congress feels the same way, we have leverage here.

 

Worse, Trump’s blatant shrugging off of the will of 530 members of Congress is evidently being taken as a sign by GOP leadership to remain supine in the face of his disregard for democracy. More than once I recall hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to advance a bill to a floor vote using the excuse that if the Senate voted for it, Trump wouldn’t sign it.

 

THAT IS NOT A REASON TO AVOID FLOOR VOTES, FFS.

 

Anyway. We did see a small amount of progress on March 15, 2018, when the Trump administration accused Russia of hacking vital American infrastructure and imposed sanctions on 19 individuals, including the 13 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted in February 2018. While the move is welcome, it’s not what we’re asking for. The administration still needs to obey Congress and impose the damn sanctions on Russia already.

 

We also saw progress on March 23, when Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that included measures that push back against Russia in various ways. It was also good news when the administration announced it would expel 60 Russian officials from America and close the Seattle consulate over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

 

And as of April 4, we’ve seen reports that the administration might sanction Russian oligarchs. See the stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-impose-fresh-sanctions-against-russia/2018/04/04/bc09e0b8-3851-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.943e72ddd109

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-plans-to-sanction-russian-oligarchs-this-week-sources-idUSKCN1HB34U

 

But! The sanctions that Congress called for have still not been imposed.

 

And! We saw a serious setback on April 16, 2018, when the Trump administration walked back a new round of sanctions against Russia, throwing the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, under the bus in the process. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Counsel, evidently claimed she “might have gotten confused”. Read a New York Times story on the walk-back:

 

Haley, for her part, is Not Having It as of April 17, 2018, when she told CNN, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow later apologized for his remarks. Read a Vox story on Haley’s pushback:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/17/17249652/nikki-haley-russia-sanctions-larry-kudlow-response

 

It’s also worth noting a chilling comment Trump made on June 15, during a White House lawn broadcast of Fox & Friends (noting that for future historians, who will boggle at it). When asked about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, he said:

 

“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

 

Trump himself later tried to downplay the utterance it by calling it sarcasm. [Attempting to blunt the impact of horrible comments by retroactively claiming they’re jokes is a classic strategy of bullies and abusers.] Conservative commentators have tried to soft-pedal it by claiming that Trump was talking about his own staff, not American citizens at large.

 

Given all the other things Trump has said and done, both as a candidate and as president, we at OTYCD are not taking it as sarcasm, or as a reference to how he wants White House staff to behave. He admires dictators. He doesn’t seem to care what dictators do to their people to force obedience.

 

We at OTYCD will continue to devote at least one post per week to the Russian sanctions issue until the Trump administration does what Congress told it to do.

 

This is the entry for August 2, 2018.

 

Below is more material from other past posts, plus a Celeste Pewter calling script. Please stay on this, and please spread the word. Thanks!

 

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

After I wrote a combo Nunes memo-Russia sanctions enforcement post yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill got to the heart of the problem in a tweet she sent late on January 29, 2018:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script for that topic:

 

 

Since Celeste prepared that calling script, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 Russian election.

 

Read the Washington Post‘s story about the indictments, which came down on February 16, 2018:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-troll-farm-13-suspects-indicted-for-interference-in-us-election/2018/02/16/2504de5e-1342-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.be1dd2d76f9d

 

The indictments also make Trump’s refusal to impose the sanctions that Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose that much more flagrant and disgusting. It also makes it that much more important that we at OTYCD stay on this topic and spotlight it until Trump finally does what he should have done back in late January 2018.

 

Here I will reproduce more useful info from past OTYCD post that quote Celeste Pewter and Alexandra Erin.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

Here also are Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin)’s January 31, 2018 tweets on the topic:

 

There are a pair of recent moves, from the State Department and the Treasury Department, which suggest that in year two of Trump’s reign, the regime is being a lot less circumspect about being in Putin’s pocket, with less ego-clashing feud and less smoke-and-mirrors resistance.

 

Now, you might recall that back in 2017, Congress passed laws calling for tough new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. There was a lot of speculation about whether Trump would sign this act, but he finally did, grudgingly and complaining the whole time.

 

In the United States system of government, the theory is that Congress passes the law, and the executive branch *executes* them, hence the term. Trump as chief executive is the chief one responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

So guess where this is going.

 

Monday, January 29th, was the deadline for the executive branch to impose the sanctions, as prescribed in the bill that Donald Trump personally signed into canon as the law of the land.

It came and it went.

 

The law called for the Treasury Department to help guide the sanctions by producing an investigative report of oligarchs and businesses linked to Putin.

 

Serious, lifetime-career experts at the Treasury Department prepared that report, which was then thrown out and replaced with a copy of the Russian Forbes 100 list plus a few public Putin associates and a disclaimer that it’s not a list of people who should face sanctions.

 

And Rex Tillerson, secretary of state and obvious Yosemite Sam pseudonym, told Congress that they haven’t imposed actual sanctions because the threat of sanctions is proving an effective deterrent. Slap on the wrist, everybody learned a valuable lesson. No actual penalty.

 

The actual implementation strategy here is to let everyone else know that doing “significant transactions” with certain Russia-linked entities may result in penalties for the other party. But it’s entirely discretionary. No actual rules per se.

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

This gives the Trump regime a valuable tool for looking tough (Trump’s favorite way to look), a free hand for Putin, and a way to arbitrarily impose sanctions on countries or other entities that Trump or Putin want to weaken.

 

With nothing actually in writing about what transactions get penalized, we could easily see a situation where a group that does significant business with the Ukraine and also had an incidental transaction in Russia gets hit with sanctions for violating the unwritten rules.

 

Or anybody backing dissidents and opposition politicians in Russia. The sub-basement floor is the limit with these guys.

 

I don’t think we are quite at “Treasury and State Department overtly help Putin crush his enemies” territory yet. Nope. But one year and change in to Trump’s rule, and we are at “Treasury and State Department overtly shield Putin and his cronies from consequences” territory.

 

And while it’s not a surprising shift, it is a marked shift from where they were last year, and the main thing that has changed is what year it is. Time makes Trump normal. The passage of the year changed his dislike of the sanctions from an outrage to the way things are.

 

And with Trump’s feet-dragging opposition to the sanctions accepted as the new normal, his executive branch failing to execute them becomes a natural progression of time rather than a startling departure from all norms of governance and the rule of law.

 

So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what would the start of a year 3 of Trump look like? How far would he be able to go after his next calendar reset? How far can he push things between now and then?

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

So now what? No further actions!? What can be done?

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

Talk about it. Spread awareness of it. Make sure everybody you know knows that it’s happening. Post it on your Facebook. Put it in an email forward to your uncle. The right does these things, and it shapes the way people think about politics, and vote.

 

Talk is not the only action required, but talk is an action that is required. There is a national discourse. We have to be shaping it.

 

Believe it or not, talking about the regime’s corruption is doing something. Talking about the resurgence of overt Nazism and white nationalism is doing something. Being willing to talk about these things, to label them as they are rather than accepting them as normal, helps.

 

We could be calling Congress to light a fire under them to demand the executive branch actually execute these things, to write newer, more specific, and tougher sanction laws, but to be honest: the public engagement and awareness aren’t there yet to get the critical mass needed.

 

So step one is: talk about it. Talk to people about it. Get people talking about it. The executive branch is flouting the rule of law, Trump is ignoring a law he himself signed into existence.

 

The right has a hundred talking points about why Russian interference doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or helped Clinton or whatever. But none of that addresses the fact that Trump signed this law. He made it the law of the land. And he’s ignoring it.

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Call Your MoCs And Demand That They Keep Doing Everything They Can to Reunite Migrant Families, July 26 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs and demand that they keep doing everything they can to reunite migrant families.

 

We are reposting this follow-up item which initially ran on July 10, 2018 because the Trump administration has formally and unequivocally missed the deadline to reunite all children aged five and under with their families.

 

That deadline was, in fact, July 10, and the administration had signaled that it would likely miss it. See this ABC News story confirming as much:

https://abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/trump-administration-misses-court-deadline-reunited-separated-children/story?id=56520065

 

We need to stay on this. OTYCD will periodically update and re-run this post as long as the Trump administration fails to do the right thing.

 

Original text follows.

 

Team Trump is still doing a lousy job of reuniting the migrant families that it parted at the border under its disgusting and immoral zero-tolerance policy.

 

This is unconscionable. Those kids need to be with their parents. They never should have been separated in the first place.

 

Others on Twitter (apologies as I cannot recall who) pointed out that it’s in Team Trump’s interest to delay and drag their feet as long as possible, because the longer this goes, the harder this becomes to fix. If the delays go on long enough, Team Trump could try to argue it’s too late to fix the problem, and a court could agree with them.

 

Also alarming is the information relayed in a July 6, 2018 tweet storm by Jay Inslee, governor of Washington state, which we will reproduce here:

 

My office recently learned the shocking revelation from that reunification could mean placing a separated child with ANY long-term sponsor — regardless of whether it’s their parents, other family in the US, family back in their home country or in long-term foster care.

[Interjecting to add an OH HELL NO to the notion that ‘reunification’ means placing migrant kids with anyone except the parents they came here with]

 

If true, this interpretation blatantly ignores the terms of the court order. The federal government has also recently admitted that reunification is being used as a bargaining chip to induce parents to agree to voluntary deportation.

 

 

The governors who joined Inslee in fighting Team Trump’s sick policy are from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Oregon. If you’re from Washington state or any of the other five, please call your governor’s office to say thanks.

 

Find your governor’s contact information here:

https://www.usa.gov/state-governor

 

 

To the larger point: We need to keep the pressure on.

 

You will be entirely unsurprised to learn that Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) has written and tweeted a pair of scripts on this very point: One for your Senators and one for your House Rep.

 

Have at it, and please scroll all the way down to learn how you can support Pewter’s work.

 

Here is Pewter’s script for your Senators:

And here is Pewter’s script for calling your House rep on this. Please scroll down to learn
how to support her work.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page. And tell your friends about the blog!

How to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded script above:

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you

can support her in other ways.

 

 

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the

experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, July 26, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

Update, July 18, 2018: In the wake of the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting, activists such as Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) are encouraging citizens to ask their representatives for stronger, bipartisan sanctions against Russia.

 

Recently we published a post about calling your MoCs (members of Congress) to demand action in the wake of Trump’s astonishingly bad performance at the July 16, 2018 Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin.

 

See that post, which included a script from Pewter:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/07/17/call-your-mocs-and-leave-no-doubt-in-their-minds-about-how-you-feel-about-trumps-press-conference-in-helsinki/

 

Since we wrote that post, Pewter updated her original Helsinki sample script to include additional talking points. Top of the list of things to request is ‘Sanctions–stronger than the sanctions enacted before. Should be bipartisan.’

 

Those talking points are below. If you haven’t yet called your MoCs about Helsinki, please do, and include a request for new, tougher Russia sanctions in your discussion. If you have, and didn’t have these talking points at hand, call again and ask for these things.

 

Standing accumulated text on the original sanctions, what Trump did and failed to do, and why his failure is scary and important follow after the Pewter talking points.

 

 

Sarah Jane here. While I was sick with the flu back in January 2018, I wrote a few posts asking folks to call their MoCs and demand that they pressure President Trump to impose the sanctions on Russia for meddling with the 2016 election, which Congress passed with a veto-proof margin.

 

Trump’s shrugging off of the deadline and refusal to impose the sanctions has gotten some attention, but not enough, because ridiculous scandals continue to happen.

 

It should not get lost, and I am determined that it won’t.

 

Trump should not be allowed to ignore the will of 530 members of Congress. In my opinion it’s one of the worst, scariest signs of sliding into authoritarianism. We need to push back, and keep pushing back. And given that almost everyone in Congress feels the same way, we have leverage here.

 

Worse, Trump’s blatant shrugging off of the will of 530 members of Congress is evidently being taken as a sign by GOP leadership to remain supine in the face of his disregard for democracy. More than once I recall hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to advance a bill to a floor vote using the excuse that if the Senate voted for it, Trump wouldn’t sign it.

 

THAT IS NOT A REASON TO AVOID FLOOR VOTES, FFS.

 

Anyway. We did see a small amount of progress on March 15, 2018, when the Trump administration accused Russia of hacking vital American infrastructure and imposed sanctions on 19 individuals, including the 13 that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted in February 2018. While the move is welcome, it’s not what we’re asking for. The administration still needs to obey Congress and impose the damn sanctions on Russia already.

 

We also saw progress on March 23, when Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that included measures that push back against Russia in various ways. It was also good news when the administration announced it would expel 60 Russian officials from America and close the Seattle consulate over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.

 

And as of April 4, we’ve seen reports that the administration might sanction Russian oligarchs. See the stories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-to-impose-fresh-sanctions-against-russia/2018/04/04/bc09e0b8-3851-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.943e72ddd109

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-plans-to-sanction-russian-oligarchs-this-week-sources-idUSKCN1HB34U

 

But! The sanctions that Congress called for have still not been imposed.

 

And! We saw a serious setback on April 16, 2018, when the Trump administration walked back a new round of sanctions against Russia, throwing the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, under the bus in the process. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Counsel, evidently claimed she “might have gotten confused”. Read a New York Times story on the walk-back:

 

Haley, for her part, is Not Having It as of April 17, 2018, when she told CNN, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow later apologized for his remarks. Read a Vox story on Haley’s pushback:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/17/17249652/nikki-haley-russia-sanctions-larry-kudlow-response

 

It’s also worth noting a chilling comment Trump made on June 15, during a White House lawn broadcast of Fox & Friends (noting that for future historians, who will boggle at it). When asked about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, he said:

 

“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

 

Trump himself later tried to downplay the utterance it by calling it sarcasm. [Attempting to blunt the impact of horrible comments by retroactively claiming they’re jokes is a classic strategy of bullies and abusers.] Conservative commentators have tried to soft-pedal it by claiming that Trump was talking about his own staff, not American citizens at large.

 

Given all the other things Trump has said and done, both as a candidate and as president, we at OTYCD are not taking it as sarcasm, or as a reference to how he wants White House staff to behave. He admires dictators. He doesn’t seem to care what dictators do to their people to force obedience.

 

We at OTYCD will continue to devote at least one post per week to the Russian sanctions issue until the Trump administration does what Congress told it to do.

 

This is the entry for July 26, 2018.

 

Below is more material from other past posts, plus a Celeste Pewter calling script. Please stay on this, and please spread the word. Thanks!

 

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

After I wrote a combo Nunes memo-Russia sanctions enforcement post yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill got to the heart of the problem in a tweet she sent late on January 29, 2018:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script for that topic:

 

 

Since Celeste prepared that calling script, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 Russian election.

 

Read the Washington Post‘s story about the indictments, which came down on February 16, 2018:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-troll-farm-13-suspects-indicted-for-interference-in-us-election/2018/02/16/2504de5e-1342-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.be1dd2d76f9d

 

The indictments also make Trump’s refusal to impose the sanctions that Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose that much more flagrant and disgusting. It also makes it that much more important that we at OTYCD stay on this topic and spotlight it until Trump finally does what he should have done back in late January 2018.

 

Here I will reproduce more useful info from past OTYCD post that quote Celeste Pewter and Alexandra Erin.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

Here also are Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin)’s January 31, 2018 tweets on the topic:

 

There are a pair of recent moves, from the State Department and the Treasury Department, which suggest that in year two of Trump’s reign, the regime is being a lot less circumspect about being in Putin’s pocket, with less ego-clashing feud and less smoke-and-mirrors resistance.

 

Now, you might recall that back in 2017, Congress passed laws calling for tough new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. There was a lot of speculation about whether Trump would sign this act, but he finally did, grudgingly and complaining the whole time.

 

In the United States system of government, the theory is that Congress passes the law, and the executive branch *executes* them, hence the term. Trump as chief executive is the chief one responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress.

So guess where this is going.

 

Monday, January 29th, was the deadline for the executive branch to impose the sanctions, as prescribed in the bill that Donald Trump personally signed into canon as the law of the land.

It came and it went.

 

The law called for the Treasury Department to help guide the sanctions by producing an investigative report of oligarchs and businesses linked to Putin.

 

Serious, lifetime-career experts at the Treasury Department prepared that report, which was then thrown out and replaced with a copy of the Russian Forbes 100 list plus a few public Putin associates and a disclaimer that it’s not a list of people who should face sanctions.

 

And Rex Tillerson, secretary of state and obvious Yosemite Sam pseudonym, told Congress that they haven’t imposed actual sanctions because the threat of sanctions is proving an effective deterrent. Slap on the wrist, everybody learned a valuable lesson. No actual penalty.

 

The actual implementation strategy here is to let everyone else know that doing “significant transactions” with certain Russia-linked entities may result in penalties for the other party. But it’s entirely discretionary. No actual rules per se.

Team America: World Secret Police.

 

This gives the Trump regime a valuable tool for looking tough (Trump’s favorite way to look), a free hand for Putin, and a way to arbitrarily impose sanctions on countries or other entities that Trump or Putin want to weaken.

 

With nothing actually in writing about what transactions get penalized, we could easily see a situation where a group that does significant business with the Ukraine and also had an incidental transaction in Russia gets hit with sanctions for violating the unwritten rules.

 

Or anybody backing dissidents and opposition politicians in Russia. The sub-basement floor is the limit with these guys.

 

I don’t think we are quite at “Treasury and State Department overtly help Putin crush his enemies” territory yet. Nope. But one year and change in to Trump’s rule, and we are at “Treasury and State Department overtly shield Putin and his cronies from consequences” territory.

 

And while it’s not a surprising shift, it is a marked shift from where they were last year, and the main thing that has changed is what year it is. Time makes Trump normal. The passage of the year changed his dislike of the sanctions from an outrage to the way things are.

 

And with Trump’s feet-dragging opposition to the sanctions accepted as the new normal, his executive branch failing to execute them becomes a natural progression of time rather than a startling departure from all norms of governance and the rule of law.

 

So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what would the start of a year 3 of Trump look like? How far would he be able to go after his next calendar reset? How far can he push things between now and then?

 

…this prompted Cathy R to tweet,

So now what? No further actions!? What can be done?

 

Alexandra Erin answered:

 

Talk about it. Spread awareness of it. Make sure everybody you know knows that it’s happening. Post it on your Facebook. Put it in an email forward to your uncle. The right does these things, and it shapes the way people think about politics, and vote.

 

Talk is not the only action required, but talk is an action that is required. There is a national discourse. We have to be shaping it.

 

Believe it or not, talking about the regime’s corruption is doing something. Talking about the resurgence of overt Nazism and white nationalism is doing something. Being willing to talk about these things, to label them as they are rather than accepting them as normal, helps.

 

We could be calling Congress to light a fire under them to demand the executive branch actually execute these things, to write newer, more specific, and tougher sanction laws, but to be honest: the public engagement and awareness aren’t there yet to get the critical mass needed.

 

So step one is: talk about it. Talk to people about it. Get people talking about it. The executive branch is flouting the rule of law, Trump is ignoring a law he himself signed into existence.

 

The right has a hundred talking points about why Russian interference doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or helped Clinton or whatever. But none of that addresses the fact that Trump signed this law. He made it the law of the land. And he’s ignoring it.

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs to Demand That Trump Withdraw His Invitation to Host Putin In the Fall

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) to demand that Trump withdraw his invitation to host Vladimir Putin in Washington, D.C., in the fall.

 

We at OTYCD hesitated to devote a post to this issue. We know Trump won’t withdraw the invitation. We know that any suggestion that he should withdraw will probably nudge him to double down.

 

This request is not aimed at Trump. It’s aimed at the sane people who surround him and support him, and who make government work.

 

If we, the constituents, don’t actually raise a ruckus with our electeds, they’ll convince themselves it’s not a big deal, and not worth their attention.

 

This president is not normal. We’re already normalizing too many things, some out of simple exhaustion.

 

Our sample script is below, but we are going to reference @Celeste_pewter’s post-Helsinki talking points in that script, to give it more shape and direction beyond ‘this proposed meeting is dangerous bullshit and should not happen.’

 

Sample script: “Dear (Senator/House Rep Lastname,) I’m (Firstname Lastname from
town, zip code.) I am calling to object to Trump’s announcement that he wants to host
Vladimir Putin in Washington this fall. This is ridiculously unwise, given what happened
in Helsinki, and no good can come of it. None. I realize you don’t have much power to
actually stop Trump from doing this, but I wanted you to know that this constituent
objects, and wants you to let your colleagues know that I object, and I want you to do
everything in your power to push back against this meeting. Some good ways to do that
would be moving forward with acts that punish and restrain Trump for his actions in
Helsinki. I’d like to see a bipartisan effort to impose a new round of even-tougher
sanctions on Russia. I want you to pass legislation that would protect Special Counsel
Robert Mueller’s investigation, and protect Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,

who has also come under attack by Trump’s minions. I want you to continue to push

to obtain the transcript of the one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin. And I

would like Congress to formally rebuke Trump on the record, through a censure or
otherwise. Thank you.”

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Push Back Against the Very Notion of Revoking Security Clearances From People Who Have Criticized Trump

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and push back against the very notion of revoking security clearances from about a half-dozen people who have criticized Trump.

 

Jesus Fucking Christ, this administration. We are truly in the time of constant swearing.

 

So! On Monday July 23, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump was “looking to take away” the security clearances of six individuals who have had harsh words for Trump:

 

Susan Rice, former national security adviser

 

Michael V. Hayden, former CIA director

 

James R. Clapper, Jr., former director of national intelligence

 

John O. Brennan, another former CIA director

 

James Comey, a former FBI director, who Trump fired

 

Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, who Trump fired, and was desperate to make sure got fired before he could claim full retirement benefits

 

The press secretary accused them of making money off their past employment and of making “baseless accusations” against Trump.

 

Never mind that two of the six, Comey and McCabe, don’t appear to hold security clearances any longer.

 

Clapper, for his part, told the Washington Post that he’s not currently doing any work that requires a clearance. An aide to Brennan said something similar.

 

Do we need to tell you this is the sort of shit that dictators do?

 

Do we need to tell you this is a threat to free speech?

 

Ugh. Just, ugh.

 

 

Here’s a Washington Post piece on Trump’s latest Constitution-threatening move:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rand-paul-says-hell-ask-trump-to-revoke-former-cia-director-john-brennans-security-clearance/2018/07/23/8eb11ccc-8e7c-11e8-b769-e3fff17f0689_story.html?utm_term=.a81c8ef98959

 

Here’s another Washington Post piece on the question of whether a president can just up and yank a security clearance. Apparently, the answer is yes, but c’mon, that won’t stop a critic from being critical because we have a wonderful little thing called The First Amendment.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/07/23/trump-can-revoke-critics-security-clearances-if-he-wants-but-it-likely-wouldnt-change-much/?utm_term=.37e2e3a6ee25

 

 

You’ve heard all the arguments about whether Trump does this or that as a distraction from some other horrible thing he’s done, or wants to do. Babies are still in cages. Migrant parents are still being deported without their kids. (Watch for a standing reminder post on that later this week.) The GOP is still wrecking the judiciary (same, assuming Trump doesn’t do something else stupid that forces us to scramble our lineup AGAIN).

 

Hell, Trump shot back a crazy all-caps tweet at Iran’s leader just hours before this security clearance bullshit, and in the interest of really trying to stick to the ethos of One Thing You Can Do, we’re only mentioning it here, right now. (But check @Celeste_pewter’s Twitter feed for a script on that, posted on July 23, 2018, if you have the bandwidth to tackle more than one thing.)

 

Also? If Trump actually tries to do this? He will be SO VERY SUED. Like, EPICLY SUED, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE, as Benjamin Wittes of LawFareBlog noted in this July 23, 2018 tweet:

That sound you just heard is thousands of lawyers all reaching for their phones at the same time to call former senior national security officials to represent them if and when the President tries to strip them of their security clearances.

 

 

Doesn’t matter WHY Trump is doing what he’s doing, or if there’s a strategy or not. This is bullshit and we need to yell about it, just as we yelled about McFaul last week, to make it DAMN CLEAR RIGHT NOW that yanking security clearances from critics is NOT ON.

 

As usual, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) got there first with a script. Scroll all the way down for ways to support her work.

 

 

Another note: Apparently Trump got this idea from Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky. Paul confirmed as much in a pair of tweets on July 23, 2018:

Just got out of WH meeting with . I restated to him what I have said in public: John Brennan and others partisans should have their security clearances revoked.

Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees

 

So! If you’re from Kentucky — and ONLY if you’re from Kentucky–call Rand Paul, too, and rip him a new one for planting this idea in Trump’s head. Tell him what he did is shameful and dictator-like and demeans the principle of free speech, which the founders deemed so vital that they enshrined it in the First Amendment.

 

Note also that Paul is NOT up for re-election in 2018, but oh, we will let you know who his Democratic challenger is when the time comes.

 

Also worthy: Follow Benjamin Wittes on Twitter (@benjaminwittes) and support LawFareBlog, which we’ve recommended in the past.

 

Also, if you are generally pissed about this, make a relevant sign and join the #OccupyLafayettePark nightly protest in Washington, D.C., or join a #StandOnEveryCorner protest near you. If there isn’t one, consider starting one.

 

Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded script above.

 

You can follow her on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

You can call your Members of Congress (MoCs) and tweet about your experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can check out The Road to 2018, an organization she’s involved with that defends and promotes vulnerable Democratic Senators. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

Subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

https://tinyletter.com/Celeste_pewter

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your MoCs and Demand That They Say OH HELL NO to Trump’s Notion That Maybe He’ll Give Former Russia Ambassador Michael McFaul to Putin

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and demand that they say OH HELL NO to Trump’s notion that maybe he’ll give former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, to Vladimir Putin for “questioning.”

 

Jesus Fucking Christ. Apparently we have reached the phase of the Trump presidency where we swear all the damn time. Ugh.

 

So, remember people observing what Trump said in public about the Helsinki meeting, and saying ‘Whoa, if this is what he’s saying in public, what the hell did those two talk about in private for two hours?’ We might be starting to get hints about that.

 

During the post-Helsinki press conference, Putin mentioned the notion of letting the U.S. question the 12 Russians we indicted on July 13, 2018 in exchange for letting Russian officials question Americans and America-affiliated folks who have annoyed Putin over the years.

 

He singled out by name Bill Browder, an American hedge fund manager who successfully persuaded the U.S. and several other countries to pass the Magnitsky Act, an anti-corruption measure which constrains Putin’s ability to grow and access his ill-gotten gains.

 

Browder is now a British citizen, so it would be hard for Trump to deliver him to Putin. Not so with Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama from 2012 to 2014. He annoyed the crap out of Putin by meeting with several of his Russian opponents and generally being in possession of a working spine.

 

Now understand this. Foreign leaders can make all the hare-brained, insulting requests they want of the U.S., and we’re sure there have been some doozies. It’s on the sitting administration and its staff to react appropriately, and know how to react appropriately.

 

The proper response to Putin’s request is ‘No, fuck you, no, and also, no, and seriously, did you get a hold of a bad batch of bathtub vodka? The fact that you’re actually asking for this makes us think there’s something wrong with your brain.’

 

But yesterday, during a press conference, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about this crazy notion, and gave an answer so wrong that it belongs in the Hall of Fame for Wrong Answers (maybe that should be the Hall of Infamy for wrong answers?).

 

We’re pulling this quote from a Politico piece that we’ll link below:

 

“He [Trump] said it [Putin’s quid pro quo interview idea] was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything,” Sanders said at the daily press briefing. “He wants to work with his team and determine if there’s any validity that would be helpful to the process…It was an idea they threw out.”

 

Full Politico piece:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-russia-browder-mcfaul-questioning-731616

 

A complete and fully justified shitstorm followed. The White House should have thrown out the idea the Russians threw out, and done so with extreme prejudice.

 

But wait! It got worse! On July 18, 2018, the Russians made it clear that they wanted to interview former ambassador McFaul.

 

McFaul’s “crimes” are nothing more than pissing off Vladimir Putin. He pissed off Putin during the course of his duties as an ambassador, when he had diplomatic immunity.

 

Failing to bluntly and harshly dismiss the notion of giving an American ambassador to Russian prosecutors for “questioning” is deeply offensive and scary. Actually, those words aren’t quite up to the task of explaining how offensive and scary that is.

 

Spencer Ackerman did a better job of capturing that in his July 18, 2018 piece for The Daily Beast in which he quotes a sitting, anonymous U.S. diplomat as being “at a fucking loss” over the administration’s failure to defend sub-basic boundaries. The quote appeared in the story’s headline.

 

When diplomats are dropping F-bombs while speaking on the record to the press (albeit anonymously), things are bad. Defcon-level bad.

 

Full article is here:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-officials-at-a-fucking-loss-over-latest-russia-sell-out

 

Because this development is just that offensive and scary, here are a few more tweets from sober-minded folks who are full-throatedly sounding the alarm.

 

Tom Nichols, Republican and author of The Death of Expertise:

This is horrifying. There can be only one announcement: That Putin can go piss up a rope. The President must stand by – a former ambassador of the United States. This is not a partisan issue, this a threat against a fellow citizen from an enemy regime.

The *instant* answer should have been: “The President told Putin that he cannot deflect from his own corruption and abuses of his people by threatening US citizens, and that we will consider any further mention of as a threat to the safety of an American diplomat.”

No. You are not overreacting. The entire country should be aware of this. If Putin can single out , he can single out anyone. The President’s job is to protect us, not to even *consider* handing any of us over to an enemy government.

 

Trial lawyer Max Kennerly:

Republicans in Congress need to draw a red line for Trump by telling him that any degree of ‘cooperation’ with persecution of would be impeachable. This includes & . They would’ve said the same to Obama if he’d offered selling out an ambassador.

 

CNN commentator and conservative Amanda Carpenter:

Please imagine if Obama’s Press Sec said there would be an “announcement” about turning over a US Ambassador, that Russia despises, over to Russia for questioning. Republicans would be rightfully furious. This cannot stand. This isn’t a partisan issue. Support your countrymen.

 

Susan Rice, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a former national security advisor under President Obama tweeted:

Beyond outrageous. Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.

 

And Jeb Bush, brother and son of past presidents and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, tweeted:

Not dismissing this absurd request out of hand is an extraordinary sign of weakness by an American president.

 

Want more? Check out #ProtectMcFaul on Twitter.

 

So! You won’t be surprised to learn that Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) got there first with a script about McFaul.

 

As always, first check your MoCs’ social media feeds and see if they’ve said something yet about this. If they have, it’s an expression of outrage and horror and a pledge to act–no one is defending this and no one would try, it’s that thoroughly bad. If they’ve said something, thank them.

 

Then carry on with the call, using this script as a jumping-off point.

 

Yes, we grant that McFaul is unlikely to be handed over to Putin. But this is the sort of madness that demands an instant, firm, loud, harsh, primal NO GODDAMNIT NO.

 

Scroll down for ways to support Celeste Pewter and her work.

 

Here are additional ways to support Celeste Pewter, author of the black-backgrounded

script above.

 

You can follow her on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

You can call your Members of Congress (MoCs) and tweet about your experience using

the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

You can check out The Road to 2018, an organization she’s involved with that defends

and promotes vulnerable Democratic Senators. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

Subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the

page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!