Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep and Demand Devin Nunes’s Removal as Chair of the House Committee on Intelligence

Call your House Rep and demand Devin Nunes’s removal from his post as Chair of the House of Representatives’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

 

Yep, we’re making an exception to our rule on issuing one thing you can do, per day, to push back against Trump. We need to get news out about the next Families Belong Together protest, but this needs attention, too, and it needs it today.

 

Devin Nunes, who represents the 22nd District of California, has been a goddamn menace on the House Committee on Intelligence since Trump’s election. He’s seemingly made it his business to personally defend Trump instead of serving the American people.

 

He should have been removed from the chairmanship of the committee ages ago. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, has consistently refused to do so.

 

With the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) July 21, 2018 release of the FISA documents relating to Carter Page, it is abundantly clear that Nunes absolutely, positively has to GO. The fact that Trump went on a tweetstorm about this on Sunday claiming that the DOJ and FBI ‘misled the courts’ makes it still more urgent.

 

While the documents are heavily redacted, every single knowledgable commenter on Twitter agrees that Nunes was stone cold wrong in his representations of what these documents contained, and his Democratic colleague, Adam Schiff, was correct.

 

Here is a selection of Twitter comments to that effect.

 

Caroline O (@RVAWonk):

An important takeaway from the Carter Page FISA documents released today: They prove without a shadow of a doubt that lied about the FISA warrant to try to discredit the Russia probe. And they also prove that told the truth.

 

Example: Nunes claimed the FBI cited a Sept. 2016 Yahoo News article to corroborate the Steele dossier. Schiff said no, the FBI cited the article to inform the court of Carter Page’s public denial of his Moscow meeting. (L) Today’s FISA docs show Schiff’s account is correct. (R) [She included a screen grab which we can’t reproduce.]

 

Devin Nunes won’t admit that he lied about Carter Page’s FISA warrant to undermine an ongoing investigation — but what about the rest of the GOP-led House intel committee, which largely went along with the Nunes memo? And what about , who could remove Nunes tomorrow?

 

Defending the Nunes memo in Feb, said: “This is about FISA abuse and…holding our govt accountable…and conducting oversight over the executive branch which…has been given great power over us at citizens. We need to make sure that that power is used correctly.” [She linked to a video of Ryan saying precisely this.]

 

So if cares about accountability & oversight, what’s he going to do to hold accountable for using his position as HPSCI chairman to lie to the American people, corrupt the oversight process, & undermine a federal investigation?

 

 

 

Julian Sanchez, another who is well-regarded in this realm and who tweets as @normative, said:

 

There’s a full page of discussion of Steele being hired to conduct political oppo research, and why the FBI regards his reporting as reliable anyway. Makes the Nunes claim that they tried to hoodwink the FISC about this look even more ridiculous.

 

It’s absolutely insane Nunes tried to claim FBI hid this information from the FISC. All this immediately follows the first mention of Steele (aka “Source 1”). [This is followed by a screen grab that we can’t reproduce.]

 

Also quite clear that, contrary to Nunes’ claims, the FBI was NOT using Michael Isikoff’s Yahoo News article as independent confirmation of Steele’s reporting, but as a source for Page’s denials he was working for Russia. [This is followed by a screen grab that we can’t reproduce.]

 

What this does make clear beyond any serious doubt is the brazen dishonesty of the Nunes memo. It is impossible to imagine a reasonable person reading this document and then making the claims in that memo in good faith.

 

 

 

 

The expert who tweets under the @pwnallthethings handle, in analyzing the Carter Page FISA documents, said:

 

Worth noting, for the record, that it was Rep. Trey Gowdy who went and read the FISA
application for the HPSCI majority when compiling the Nunes memo. So he has a lot to
answer for here.
Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero), a law professor, CNN analyst, and contributing editor
to the Lawfare blog tweeted:
Let me be crystal clear: the Chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes,
set in motion a chain of events based on a bogus & politicized charge against DOJ’s use of
, that just upended 40 years of FISA practice that protected the nation’s secrets.
You can be for , and likewise lament that this case, for these reasons, is
the one that busted the system and will have profound consequences for protecting
national security information in cases involving going forward.

 

 

Rather than a tweetstorm, expert David Kris wrote a piece for the Lawfare blog on the documents. Key quote from that post:

 

The Nunes memo accused the FBI of dishonesty in failing to disclose information about Steele, but in fact the Nunes memo itself was dishonest in failing to disclose what the FBI disclosed. I said then, and I still believe, that the “Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.”

Now we have some additional information in the form of the redacted FISA applications themselves, and the Nunes memo looks even worse. In my earlier post, I observed that the FBI’s disclosures about Steele were contained in a footnote, but argued that this did not detract from their sufficiency: “As someone who has read and approved many FISA applications and dealt extensively with the FISA Court, I will anticipate and reject a claim that the disclosure was somehow insufficient because it appeared in a footnote; in my experience, the court reads the footnotes.” Now we can see that the footnote disclosing Steele’s possible bias takes up more than a full page in the applications, so there is literally no way the FISA Court could have missed it. The FBI gave the court enough information to evaluate Steele’s credibility.

 

Full David Kris post is here:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-make-carter-page-fisa-applications

 

 

So! We at OTYCD are asking you to call your House Rep and demand Nunes’s removal as chair of the House Intelligence committee.

 

Before you call, check the links below that show the full list of members of the committee. Is your House Rep one of them? If so, it’s extra-important that you call.

 

 

Majority members of the committee (all Republican):

https://intelligence.house.gov/about/hpsci-majority-members.htm

 

 

Minority members of the committee (all Democrats):

https://intelligence.house.gov/about/hpsci-minority-members.htm

 

 

Also, if your House Rep is Speaker Paul Ryan? Super-extra-mega-important for you to call.

 

 

Sample script: “Dear House Rep [Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, zip code]. I am calling to urge you and your colleagues to remove Devin Nunes as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He has been unbelievably irresponsible with his power since Trump was elected, and on Saturday, we got proof of just how irresponsible he was. Every responsible intelligence expert who comments publicly agree that he misrepresented the Carter Page FISA documents. Some accuse him of ‘brazen dishonesty.’ Others accuse him of misusing his power and undermining national security to serve a political end. Regardless, it is long past time to remove him from his position on that sensitive committee before he can do even more damage. I urge you to urge your colleagues to prevail upon Speaker Ryan and do the right thing at long last.”

 

 

Once you’ve done that, please support Andrew Janz, the Democrat who’s running against Nunes and hopes to take his seat. Donate to his campaign, phone-bank for him, canvass for him, follow him on social media–anything helps.

 

See the OTYCD post on Andrew Janz and his campaign:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/06/09/keep-an-eye-on-andrew-janz-whos-running-for-devin-nuness-house-seat/

 

 

Read the NYT story on the document release:

 

Here’s a July 22, 2018 CNN article that cites Trump claiming the docs show the DOJ and FBI ‘misled the courts’ (they didn’t):

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/22/politics/donald-trump-fisa-tweet/index.html?utm_term=image&utm_source=twCNNp&utm_medium=social&utm_content=2018-07-22T14%3A04%3A58

 

 

 

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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!

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Ethics · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Join a Vigil to Confront Corruption and Demand Democracy on July 18, 2018

Join a vigil to Confront Corruption at sundown on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

 

This event was planned before Monday’s Helsinki summit, and before Trump revealed himself to be so clearly under the control of Vladimir Putin.

 

We’re cheating a little by putting out two posts today–the now-standard weekly post demanding that Trump actually enforce and support sanctions against Russia (by which we mean earlier ones that passed Congress 530-5 in a bill that Trump signed but has pretty much ignored, not the fresh round of sanctions citizens are asking for in the wake of Helsinki).

 

As of the night of Monday July 16, 2018, citizens began gathering in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., to protest Trump’s horrific performance and demand that he go.

 

Those outside D.C. who are hungry to display their disgust have helped spread the word about this protest, which is a joint effort of dozens of groups, including MoveOn, March for Truth, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Stand Up America, Lawyers for Good Governance, and more.

 

 

Find a vigil near you by typing your zip code into this search engine:

https://www.confrontcorruption.org/?email_address=&address_change%5Bsubmitted_address%5D=01852&address_change%5Bdistance%5D=50&commit=Search

 

 

See the main Confront Corruption and Defend Democracy page:

http://www.confrontcorruption.org

 

 

See its About page:

https://www.confrontcorruption.org/about

 

 

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

Call Your MoCs and Demand They Enforce Sanctions Against Russia, Dammit, July 18, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

 

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

 

Yesterday 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 18, 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 · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Call Your MoCs and Leave No Doubt In Their Minds About How You Feel About Trump’s Press Conference in Helsinki

Call your MoCs and leave no doubt in their minds–none whatsoever–how you feel about Trump’s treasonous performance in Helsinki.

 

Holy shit. I mean, holy shit. HOLY SHIT.

 

Everyone was braced for the Helsinki meeting to be bad. But, HOLY SHIT.

 

HO

 

LEE

 

SHIT

 

!

 

Yeah, it’s every bit as bad as it looked and sounded and seemed. And yet, it’s hard to find the words to describe what we all saw.

 

How about we should start with the transcript and the video of the press conference, assuming you can bear to watch. It comes care of Boing Boing:

https://boingboing.net/2018/07/16/trump-putin-helsinki.html

 

 

Here’s a selection of reactions on Twitter:

 

John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan), director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017:

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

 

 

Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson), Republican strategist and author of the upcoming Everything Trump Touches Dies:

He’s bad at being President. He’s bad at being a patriot. He’s bad at being an America. He’s owned. He might as well be wearing a dog collar and looking up at Putin for Donnie Snacks.

Putin is to Donald Trump as Donald Trump is to a single-celled life form. He’s played Trump like a fiddle. This is a disaster for America.

I’m starting to think the pee tape isn’t just real, but it’s spectacular.

If you needed any other evidence that this President is completely owned, you just got it.

Let me tell you, if Barack Obama had said the crap Trump said today there would already be 10, 000 hypercaustic elected Republican press releases, Facebook posts, and tweets. There would be a hundred calls for impeachment by close of business today.

Press secretary for a pro-Trump Senator: “FML. Can I come play for Team America now?”

 

 

Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom), Republican and author of The Death of Expertise:

This is worse than I expected. And my expectations were already rock bottom.

Holy crap. This is an abomination.

Putin is completely in command of this situation. He’s basically told Trump to go piss up a rope about the GRU guys [he means the 12 Russians who were indicted on July 13, 2018]. (“You want investigations? Sure. I’ll look into it. Give me Bill Browder.”) Trump, meanwhile, is babbling “no collusion.”

I dare any of Trump’s enablers and apologists to defend what we just saw.

I expect nothing from the House. But other GOPers who don’t oppose this are dead to me. This could be what finally drives me out of the party — I’m sure to the relief of the Putin Bloc who will stay. If you @ me about quitting, I’ll block you. I don’t need your advice on that.

 

 

Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES), a high-ranking Republican who worked for past presidential campaigns, and who recently left the party:

No American President has ever disgraced himself, the Presidency and the United Stated like Trump did today. The video will endure as a monument to stupidity, arrogance and idiocy throughout the ages. Trump beclowned himself and made the world much more dangerous. What a fool.

 

 

Ethics expert Walter Shaub (@WaltShaub):

Literal collusion caught on video today: “[I]n refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia’s behavior, while trashing his own country’s justice system, Mr. Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.” [Then he linked to this Washington Post story:]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-just-put-russia-first/2018/07/16/8391f9aa-8914-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html?utm_term=.efed2afa8562

 

 

Sally Yates (@SallyQYates), who tried to alert the administration about the dangers Michael Flynn posed and got fired in early 2017 for her trouble:

Our President today not only chose a tyrant over his own Intel community, he chose Russia’s interests over the country he is sworn to protect. All Americans should raise their voices. Let the world know what we stand for.

 

 

Maria Spinella (@mariaspinella) of CNN:

Chuck Hagel to his former colleagues on “now is the time…now is the time the congress of the United States must step up and step into this…this is serious”

 

 

Michael Cohen (@speechboy71), columnist for the Boston Globe:

That was a treasonous performance. Any Republican who doesn’t immediately condemn Trump’s words – and begin the process of impeachment – is complicit

Every journalist in America needs to have their hair on fire over what just happened in Helsinki. This is a grave political crisis.

 

 

Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta), senior correspondent at Business Insider:

It’s not a summit, it’s a crime scene.

 

 

Scott Gilmore (@Scott_Gilmore), editor-at-large for MacLeans:

Trump is in Air Force One right now, it’s only 9pm Helsinki time. He is likely watching the reaction. An almost universal condemnation, even among GOP politicians. Even he must realize he has stumbled into uncharted territory. How will he react?

 

 

Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) of Crooked Media:

This is just a really sad day for the United States.

 

 

With the exception of ailing Arizona Senator John McCain (his statement is the pinned tweet on the @SenJohnMcCain Twitter page), sitting GOP Congressfolk have been way too mealy-mouthed about this. So mealy-mouthed that it’s not worth including any of their responses here (though McCain’s is good and it’s a shame he can’t do more, but he has a particularly nasty brain cancer, so…)

 

By the time you see this post you may well have already called your MoCs.

 

If you sat there unable to do much more than absorb and pick your jaw up off the floor, well, your window to call is open. And hey, this is bad enough that it’s worth calling again  about.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) was quicker on the draw than us. We are reproducing her sample script, which encourages you to ask your members of Congress (MoCs) to do more than issue sternly worded statements.

 

A few points we at OTYCD want to add:

 

Before you call, check the social media feeds for each of your MoCs to see what they’ve said about Helsinki. Be ready to quote what you like or don’t like. If one of your MoCs hasn’t said anything yet, point that out and ask when they will.

 

Call all three of your MoCs about this, but remember–House members and Senators have different powers, some of which don’t overlap.

 

Sure, be more passionate and forceful than what you see here but please, don’t actually yell, and don’t use abusive language. It’s July. Odds are interns are answering the phones. They’re just as pissed as you are. If you think you’re going to lose it, write down what you want to say and rehearse it until you can say it while keeping control.

 

Notice that Pewter does not use the I-word in this script. This is wise, because we’d need 67 Senators to succeed with an impeachment effort, and even now, it’s unclear if we’d have that.

 

When you call your Senators, you can urge them to urge GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to advance the bill that protects Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He’s been sitting on it. He never should have sat on it. Time to tell him to quit that shit, and to add protections for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, too.

 

Charlie Pierce of Esquire suggested it’s time for at least three GOP Senators to stop caucusing with their party, to underline how serious this is. Key quote:

Three Republican senators moving across the aisle shuts everything down. It defangs Mitch McConnell. It would take considerable political courage for Sasse to do this, since he still has political ambitions, but Bob Corker and Jeff Flake both have announced their retirements, and they both have been quite critical about the administration’s antics. Those two literally have nothing to lose. Again, if there’s another constitutional method by which immediately to throw the brakes on the crazy train, I’m wide open to hearing it.

Full article is here:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a22165304/donald-trump-press-conference-vladimir-putin-renegade-presidency/

 

If you are represented in the Senate by Corker, Flake, Sasse, Murkowski, Collins, McCain, or Graham, it’s worth asking them to do this.

 

If you have GOP Senators, it’s still worth it. Even if there’s no chance they’ll step away, the fact that constituents are calling to ask for it shows them how serious this is and how angry people are.

 

Lastly, there were spontaneous protests last night at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., and there will be another there tonight (July 17, 2018) at 7 pm EST. If you live in or near the city, please consider going.

 

Here’s the script. 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!

 

Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep and Demand That They Do Everything They Can to Stop The Push to Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

Call your House Rep and demand that he or she does everything they can to stop the push to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. 

 

Surely you saw or heard tell of the ridiculous hearing that the House Judiciary Committee did with fired FBI agent Peter Strozk on Thursday. Strozk (pronounced ‘Struck’) was the guy who sent thousands of texts back and forth with FBI lawyer Lisa Page while working on investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russia’s potential interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

 

Strozk had, and has, a good reputation within the FBI. Conservatives seeking to attack the Trump-Russia investigation fixed on his texts and claimed some of them showed bias against the president. In a show of caution, Mueller removed Strozk from the Russia investigation once he learned about the texts. (This happened around December 2017).

 

Anyway. We mention the July 12, 2018 Strozk hearing because it happened a day before the Department of Justice announced twelve more indictments in the Trump-Russia probe. These target, by name, Russian hackers who worked for the military and who interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

 

If you want to refresh yourself on that news, read this Washington Post piece:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-expected-to-announce-new-indictment-by-mueller/2018/07/13/bc565582-86a9-11e8-8553-a3ce89036c78_story.html?utm_term=.6e0cff0021da

 

 

The larger point: The timing of the Strozk hearing could have been a desperate attempt to damage Mueller’s investigation before the new indictments went public on July 13, 2018.

 

We also know that Rosenstein briefed Trump about the coming indictments earlier in the week of July 9, before he departed for the U.K. Trump nevertheless continued to call the investigation “rigged” and a “witch hunt” on the day the news broke.

 

See a Business Insider piece that confirms that Rosenstein briefed the president about the coming indictments:

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-briefed-mueller-indictments-russian-hackers-2018-7

 

 

So! After all that happened, some House Republicans started making noise about impeaching Rosenstein.

 

According to a Politico story published that fateful Friday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows apparently had the impeachment document in hand, on the floor of the chamber, as Rosenstein was giving the press conference about the indictments.

 

Evidently, a group of House Republicans have been plotting for weeks to impeach Rosenstein. They could file the document as early as Monday, July 16. They could also go with the less serious step of trying to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress.

 

Here’s the larger point: The Politico article says the group doesn’t yet have enough support from fellow House members to take these actions. It also notes that their mutterings make the chamber’s leadership uneasy. See these key paragraphs:

 

“It is unclear how much support conservatives will have in their effort. Rosenstein has become a punching bag for Trump and his allies as they vent frustration over the Russia investigation. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, Rosenstein has overseen the Mueller probe, which is also examining potential obstruction of justice charges against the president.

But House GOP leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan have clearly been uncomfortable with the notion of going after Rosenstein. It’s unlikely that will change anytime soon, especially so soon after the latest indictments. Ryan’s office was not immediately available for comment.”

 

Full Politico article is here:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/13/house-republicans-rod-rosenstein-impeachment-719816

 

This is where you come in.

 

Yes, it’s a weekend, and your House Rep’s offices will be closed.

 

We are recommending you call your House Rep anyway and leave a voice mail message.

 

You can also choose to wait until Monday to call about this, but we at OTYCD wanted to get this post out before then in case those House members move to impeach on Monday.

 

Now, can these House members succeed in impeaching Rosenstein? Probably not. They would need a House majority to vote in favor.

 

That’s why you should make calling a priority. A firm pushback from their own constituents should strengthen their resolve.

 

Scripts follow. Scroll down for more discussion of why impeaching Rosenstein probably won’t happen, and how you can push back against the twerps in the House who are pursuing this clownish nonsense.

 

“Dear House Rep [Lastname,] I am [Firstname Lastname from town, zip code.] I am calling to ask you to oppose any attempts by your colleagues to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or hold him in contempt of Congress. Many of the same people who made fools of themselves at the Strozk [pronounced ‘Struck’] hearing on Thursday are trying to hobble Rosenstein. Like Thursday’s hearings, targeting Rosenstein is a politically motivated attempt to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s Russian connections. Nothing more. Mueller and Rosenstein both must be left alone to do their jobs. I am asking you to firmly and publicly rebuke any attempts by this small group of House Republicans to besmirch Rosenstein without cause. Thank you for listening.”

 

 

An April 2018 story in USA Today considered the notion that the House might succeed in impeaching Rosenstein, and generally threw cold water on it. The article gives a good overview of what has to happen for the motion to succeed, and explains how rarely such impeachments happen.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/29/can-trump-allies-really-impeach-deputy-ag-rod-rosenstein/550442002/

 

 

While we at OTYCD do not have a full list of the people who are trying to impeach Rosenstein or hold him in contempt of Congress, we’re betting there’s a lot of overlap with the membership of the House Freedom Caucus.

 

All members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election this year. See this OTYCD article to learn who is in the House Freedom Caucus so you can help vote them out in November:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/06/04/see-this-list-of-members-of-the-house-freedom-caucus-so-you-can-vote-them-out-in-november/

 

 

This is also a good time to remind you about the plans for mass protest if Trump provokes a constitutional crisis over the Trump-Russia probe.

 

If the House GOP actually gets anywhere with impeaching Rosenstein or holding him in contempt of Congress, that could trigger the mass protest plan. Here is the OTYCD post about the protest:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/12/prepare-for-a-rapid-response-in-case-trump-fires-special-counsel-bob-mueller/

 

 

Here also is a reminder to check the website and note where your local protest venue is in case things go to hell and take that website’s servers with them:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/05/01/note-where-the-nearest-nobody-is-above-the-law-rally-takes-place-now-just-in-case-if-trump-does-fire-mueller-or-rosenstein-etc-the-server-might-crash/

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Call Your MoCs and Demand That Trump Cancel His One-on-One Helsinki Meeting With Putin

Call your MoCs and demand that Trump cancel his one-on-one meeting in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, which is set for Monday July 16, 2018.

 

Normally we at OTYCD don’t ask you to call your MoCs on weekends. We do this because we often ask you to call them during the week. Also, while you can call your MoCs on the weekends, their offices might not be staffed. You can, and should, leave a voicemail, but calling on weekdays raises the odds of getting a live person.

 

We’re making an exception to support the #CancelHelsinki movement.

 

Folks had been pushing to get Trump to pull out of the one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, because Trump says it’d be just him and the Russian–no interpreters, no note-takers, no other witnesses.

 

This is an Exceptionally Bad Idea.

 

This is an Even Worse Idea in the wake of the Friday announcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ), indicting twelve Russian hackers for interfering with the 2016 presidential election by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

 

If you want to refresh yourself on the news, read this Washington Post piece:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rod-rosenstein-expected-to-announce-new-indictment-by-mueller/2018/07/13/bc565582-86a9-11e8-8553-a3ce89036c78_story.html?utm_term=.6e0cff0021da

 

The larger point: The meeting is set for Monday. If you’re going to meaningfully oppose it, you need to call over the weekend.

 

You won’t be shocked to learn that Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_pewter) is already on it. She’s composed a script which we will reproduce below. Scroll down to learn how to support her and her work (which you should, early and often).

 

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!