Escape Your Bubble · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Check Out Republicans for the Rule of Law

Check out Republicans for the Rule of Law, an organization of Republicans who believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation should be allowed to run its course, without interference.


We at OTYCD imagine you’re kind of fed up with Republicans at this point, given how cravenly they’ve enabled Trump and shirked their duty to check his excesses since the 2016 election.


Well, at least some of them are sane and concerned enough to call out their colleagues, at least on the subject of the Mueller probe.


Formed in 2018, it released an ad in April 2018 supporting and defending the Mueller investigation:–campaign-2018/2018/04/11/644a3c84-3d96-11e8-955b-7d2e19b79966_video.html?utm_term=.aa815c735ce3


Its directors include Bill Kristol, founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, and Mona Charen, who took serious flak at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference when she tried to discuss Trump’s obvious flaws.


The rule of law is not a partisan issue, and has never been. We at OTYCD wish a group like Republicans for the Rule of Law wasn’t necessary, but under the circumstances, which grow more dire and ridiculous by equal measures by the day, we are grateful for its existence. We encourage you to check it out.


Obligatory warning, with apologies for bonking you all on the head about this fact: Republicans for the Rule of Law is made up of… Republicans. Their members hold  different political beliefs than you do. The leaders of this group will sometimes say things and do things that don’t match your beliefs, and which might piss you off well and thoroughly. That’s ok. Really, it’s OK. You’re being asked to look at what RRL is doing and support what you like, not endorse every last little everything every one of its members do. They understand the danger of Trump, at least as far as the Mueller probe goes–that’s the key thing. One of the reasons this country is so borked right now is we’re fiercely polarized and, in avoiding jerks who disagree with us, we end up avoiding decent people who happen to disagree with us. That’s got to stop if we want to make things better.



Follow Republicans for the Rule of Law on Twitter:




Like its Facebook page:

Call Your Members of Congress · Marches and Protests · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Continue the Work of the No One Is Above the Law Protests: Call Your MoCs to Demand Whitaker Recuse and Demand Investigation of Sessions’s Departure

Continue the work of the No One Is Above the Law protests: Call your members of Congress (MoCs) to demand that Matthew Whitaker recuse from the Mueller probe, and demand investigation of Sessions’s departure.


You got the call and answered it. You were out there at 5 pm local time at your No One Is Above the Law protest site. Thank you.


The next step is to carry on the work by calling your MoCs and demanding the following:


That acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from the Mueller probe; and demand investigation of the circumstances of Jeff Sessions’s exit from the Department of Justice (DOJ).


Whitaker is problematic on several levels, not least that an office of this level of importance requires the Senate to weigh in. Trump is evidently trying to avoid scrutiny by making him Acting AG. But, in a November 8, 2018 opinion piece for the New York Times, Neal Katyal and George Conway (Kellyanne Conway’s husband, btw), flatly assert that the move is unconstitutional.


Key paragraphs:

It means that Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

Much of the commentary about Mr. Whitaker’s appointment has focused on all sorts of technical points about the Vacancies Reform Act and Justice Department succession statutes. But the flaw in the appointment of Mr. Whitaker, who was Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, runs much deeper. It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.

If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.


Full article here:


Even if it was legal to appoint Whitaker, he has known biases against the Mueller probe, and they are on record. Those stated biases would legally compel him to recuse.


But Whitaker says he has no intention to recuse:


As for the Sessions thing–the reason we need to ask for an examination of his exit is it appears to be a firing, but we need to clarify what happened. A firing requires elevating Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to the role Sessions left. The wording of his resignation letter indicates he did not leave of his own volition–ergo, he was fired.


Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), as always, is on top of it. What follows are her scripts for calling your House Rep and your Senators. Scroll down for word on how you can show your appreciation for Pewter.


Before you call, check Celeste’s Twitter feed, in case she’s issued updated scripts. Also, check the social media feeds of your MoCs, to see if they’ve made a statement on either matter. If they have, mention it in your calls.


Also! Before you call, check to see if your House Rep or one or both Senators are on their chamber’s Judiciary Committees. If they are, it’s extra-important for you to call.


Senate members listed here:


House members listed here:


Lastly–why it’s important to call. Going into the streets to protest is important and necessary. Backing those protests up with specific demands for your representatives makes for a one-two punch.


Here is the script for your House rep:


You can show love for Celeste Pewter in many ways.


You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter


You can tweet about calling your Senators, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.


You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.


And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:



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!









Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

See This List of Members of the House Freedom Caucus So You Can Vote Them Out in November

ThisOTYCD post originally appeared in June 2018. In the lead-up to the midterms, we’re re-running important posts. Please click on the announcement from Sarah Jane to learn why you’re not seeing timely daily posts.


See this list of the current sitting members of the House Freedom Caucus, so you can vote them out in November.


The House Freedom Caucus is the most far-right group of Congresspeople within the House Republican Conference. While not everyone in it is thoroughly terrible–Michigan’s Justin Amash is clearly, and refreshingly, possessed of a functioning spine–they engage in shenanigans on the regular.


A recent notable beclownment was its drafting of articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in late April 2018.


North Carolina Rep Mark Meadows characterized the document as a “last resort” if Rosenstein continued to rebuff requests for information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s involvement with Russia.


Anyone with a functioning brain realizes the HFC is trying to undermine Rosenstein, Mueller, and the probe. Reporting on the draft simply credits it to the HFC, and only names Meadows specifically in connection with the document.


News stories on the matter say nothing about who, exactly, drafted it, so we are left to infer that everyone in the HFC approves of it, even if they might not have personally worked on it.


In light of this, we’re devoting this post to listing every current, sitting member of the HFC so you can help vote them out in November 2018. If these folks represent you, you’re probably already well aware of their records. If they don’t, it’s worth learning about them and looking into helping their Democratic opponents. (Every member of the House of Representatives is defending their seats this fall, assuming they’re not retiring.)


Several of these names will be familiar from an earlier OTYCD post on eleven House GOP members who called for investigating Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Sally Yates, Hillary Clinton, and assorted Department of Justice personnel for bias. We have repeated information from that post where appropriate.


The HRC does not publish or otherwise identify its members. What you see below represents the best list available as of April 2018.



Justin Amash, representing Michigan’s 3rd District. As stated above, Amash is unusual for displaying consistency as well as a spine. Let’s be clear here–his politics are odious, but he does have that going for him. He also appears to vote more often with the Democrats, but that’s largely a function of him rejecting legislation because it’s not conservative or far-right enough for his tastes. Make of that what you will.

Amash is running for a fifth term. The primary takes place August 7, 2018. He will face one Republican challenger. There are also two Democrats and an Independent in the mix. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.



Joe Barton, representing Texas’s 6th District. In November 2017, he announced that he would retire from Congress after a three-decade career in the House of Representatives. This statement came soon after news broke of his involvement in extramarital affairs. It should be said that no one has accused Barton of sexual misconduct or harassment, and the affairs were consensual. Regardless, he felt it best not to run again.


Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez will face Republican Ronald Wright and Libertarian Jason Harper in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Read OTYCD‘s post on Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez:



Andy Biggs, representing Arizona’s 5th District. He’s running for his second term. Five Democrats are running in the August 28, 2018 primary. No Republicans have stepped up to challenge Biggs; the filing deadline is May 30. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.



Rod Blum, representing Iowa’s 1st District. He’s running for a third term, and he looks especially vulnerable. The 1st was a battleground district in 2016, and Politico has listed the race as one of the top 10 House races to watch in 2018. Four Democrats and a Green Party member will appear in the June 5 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as a Toss-up.



Dave Brat, representing Virginia’s 7th District. He first gained notoriety for his improbable defeat of the powerful GOP incumbent Eric Cantor. Brat won’t face any Republicans in the primary, but two Democrats and a Whig Party member (yes, you read that right, the Whig Party) will appear in the June 12, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.


Mo Brooks, representing Alabama’s 5th District. He’s running for his fifth term. The June 5, 2018 primary features one other Republican and a Democrat. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Ken Buck, representing Colorado’s 4th District. He’s running for a third term. Two Democrats will meet in the June 26, 2018 primary; he has no Republican challengers. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Ted Budd, representing North Carolina’s 13th District. He’s seeking a second term. He will face Democrat Kathy Manning and Libertarian Tom Bailey in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.


Warren Davidson, representing Ohio’s 8th District. He won a special election in 2016, won the general later that year, and is running again this fall, where he will compete against Democrat Vanessa Enoch. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Ron DeSantis, representing Florida’s 6th District. He’s retiring from his House seat in order to run for governor of Florida. Three Democrats and five Republicans will appear in the August 28, 2018 primary. The filing deadline is May 4. As of September 2017, Nancy Soderberg had the most cash on hand among the Democrats. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Scott DesJarlais, representing Tennessee’s 4th District. He’s running for a fifth term. He faces one challenger in the August 2, 2018 primary, which will also have three Democrats and an Independent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Jeff Duncan, representing South Carolina’s 3rd District. He’s running for a fifth term. Two Democrats and a member of the American party will run in the June 12, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Matt Gaetz, representing Florida’s 1st District. He’s running for a second term. Two Democrats and two other Republicans will meet him in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Tom Garrett Jr., representing Virginia’s 5th District. He sent mixed signals in late May, saying he wouldn’t run for a second term, and then saying he would. His re-election campaign appears to be on. He will face Democrat Leslie Cockburn, who won the most votes at the May 5, 2018 primary convention. Independent John Harris is running as a write-in candidate. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.


Louie Gohmert, representing Texas’s 1st District. He was first elected to the House in 2004 and is running again. He will face Democrat Shirley McKellar and Libertarian Jeff Callaway in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Paul A. Gosar, representing Arizona’s 4th District. He is running for a fifth term. Three Democrats and a Green Party member will run in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Morgan Griffith, representing Virginia’s 9th District. He’s running for a fifth term. No challenger will meet him in the June 12, 2018 primary, but two Democrats and an Independent will appear. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Andy Harris, representing Maryland’s 1st District. He is seeking a fifth term. This is a crowded field. Six Democrats, including Allison Galbraith, two other Republicans, and a Libertarian have committed to the June 26, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


See the OTYCD entry on Allison Galbraith:


Jody Hice, representing Georgia’s 10th District. He’s running for a third term. The May 22, 2018 primary includes three Democrats, two other Republicans, and an Independent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Jim Jordan, representing Ohio’s 4th District (he’s also co-chair of the HFC). He was first elected to the House in 2006. He will face Democrat Janet Garrett in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Raúl Labrador, representing Idaho’s 1st District. He is running for governor of Idaho in 2018. Republican Russ Fulcher and Democrat Christina McNeil will face off in November.  The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Mark Meadows, representing North Carolina’s 11th District (he’s also co-chair of the HFC). He’s seeking a fourth term. He will face Democrat Phillip Price in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Alex Mooney, representing West Virginia’s 2nd District. He’s running for a third term. He’s competing against Democrat Talley Sergent. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Gary Palmer, representing Alabama’s 6th District. Like Mooney, he’s running for a third term. The primary happens June 5, 2018, but Palmer and Democrat Danner Kline are the only ones on the ballot in each case, and there are no candidates from other parties this time around. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Steve Pearce, representing New Mexico’s 2nd District. Pearce is in New Mexico’s gubernatorial race, leaving the House seat free in 2018. The primary takes place June 5, 2018, and features two Democrats and four Republicans. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Lean Republican.


Scott Perry, representing Pennsylvania’s 4th District. In February 2018, the state’s Supreme Court threw out the old Congressional district map, deeming it illegally gerrymandered. What was the 4th now covers much of what was the 13th district. Perry does not appear to be running again, and the Democratic incumbent under the old map, Brendan Boyle, is seeking re-election in the 2nd District. Got that?

Democrat Madeleine Dean will face Republican Dan David in November. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Democratic.


Bill Posey, representing Florida’s 8th District. He first won election in 2008 and is running again. The primary is set for August 28, but only Posey and Democrat Sanjay Patel are on it, with no one from the smaller parties in the mix. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


Mark Sanford, representing South Carolina’s 1st District. If the name sounds familiar, yeah, this was the guy who melted down as governor of South Carolina over extramarital affairs. Remember “hiking the Appalachian Trail”? Yeah, he’s that guy. Anyway, he won the House seat in a special election in 2013 and is running again. He faces two other Republicans in the June 12, 2018 primary. Two Democrats will appear as well. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Likely Republican.


David Schweikert, representing Arizona’s 6th District. He’s seeking a fifth term. The August 28, 2018 primary is crowded on the Democratic side, with five candidates, but clear on the Republican side, with Schweikert the only choice. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Likely Republican.


Randy Weber, representing Texas’s 14th District. He’s hoping for a fourth term, and is facing Democrat Adrienne Bell and Libertarian Don Conley III. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.


See OTYCD‘s post on Adrienne Bell:



Ted Yoho, representing Florida’s 3rd District. He’s running for a fourth term. Three Democrats will run in the August 28, 2018 primary. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as Solid Republican.



Choose the Democratic challengers of any of these folks for your Core Four:



We relied in part on Ballotpedia to research and fact-check this post.



See the Ballotpedia home page:



Donate to Ballotpedia ($18 corresponds to the cost of a single article):



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



As for cites on the House Freedom Caucus…


Read about the HFC’s drafting of articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein:


Read the actual articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, obtained by the Washington Post:



Read a USA Today Op-Ed on how the impeachment effort against Rosenstein represents a violation of ethical rules and an attempt to hobble Mueller’s probe:



Read a CNN story on a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee decrying the HFC’s shens:



Read stories about Rod Rosenstein standing firm in the face of the HFC’s threat:



And read some background on the HFC:

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, Demand Justice For Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Ask Them to Pressure the White House to Do Better, Dammit

Call your Members of Congress (MoCs) to demand that they do everything in their power to deliver justice on behalf of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and ask them to pressure the White House to do better than their current piss-poor reaction.


On October 2, 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect paperwork he needed to marry his Turkish fiancé.


He never came out.


A team of Saudi assassins are accused of killing Khashoggi. We won’t repeat the details that Turkish news sources are reporting; they’re startlingly gruesome. Suffice it to say that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi leader colloquially known as MBS, saw Khashoggi and his writing as an irritant.


Saudi officials maintain that Khashoggi left the consulate through a back entrance, but he has not been seen since October 2. Virtually no one in the world intelligence community doubts that Khashoggi is dead, and virtually no one doubts that he was assassinated.


As this post is being prepared, there’s word that the Saudis might be working on a new story that acknowledges Khashoggi’s death but characterizes it as an interrogation gone wrong. Ahem.


Khashoggi’s alleged murder is a gross affront to all that is good and right. He wrote for the Washington Post and had deep connections to Saudi society, giving him insights that few could match. He was uniquely positioned to see the flaws of his native country, and he was uniquely equipped to name and describe those flaws. Also, he had adopted the United States as his home-in-exile. He held a green card and paid taxes.


Trump and his administration have done an unusually piss-poor job of reacting to the Khashoggi situation, which is saying something. While Trump promised unspecified “severe punishment” if Saudi leaders are responsible for Khashoggi’s death, he also bought the Saudis’ current spiel about Khashoggi’s fate and their role in it, and he showed that he valued the U.S.’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia more than upholding the bedrock American value of free speech. In an October 13, 2018 interview with 60 Minutes, Trump said, “I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that,” he said. “There are other ways of punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true.”


See a Time magazine article that quotes Trump reacting to the Khashoggi situation:


Several news outlets have highlighted the fact that the Saudis give the Trumps a lot of money. Here’s a CNBC piece about Saudi patronage of Trump hotels:


Here’s a Washington Post opinion piece by Jennifer Rubin about Trump family connections to the Saudis, in which she cites reports that MBS bragged that he had Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, “in his pocket”:


And if you’re wondering if Trump’s entanglement with the Saudis and their copious fonts of cash looks like a violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution, read these October 17 tweets from Jonathan Ladd, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution:


The fact that most in the political establishment except liberal activists has decided to pretend the emoluments clause doesn’t exist and allow a president to accept massive foreign bribes puts them in a weak position to claim that the Senate and SCOTUS must always stay the same.

If you want evidence that constitutional arrangements evolve over time, and practice, for better or worse, doesnt always match the original intention, just look the the emoluments clause. It’s original intention and interpretation until 2015 was that foreign bribes were forbidden
How did we effectively repeal the emoluments clause? Through the amendment procedure in the constitution’s text (2/3 of congress + 3/4 of states)? Nope. We just decided to ignore the text and tradition.
The best procedure to enforce the emoluments clause is impeachment, but the president’s party in Congress just decided that they didn’t care about foreign bribes, Constitutional text and tradition be damned. So now that Constitutional clause is unenforced and dead.


Also see Charlie Pierce’s fire-breathing opinion piece in Esquire that flatly accuses Trump of violating the Constitution because his connections to Saudis and their money evidently restrained him from giving them both barrels when the Khashoggi news broke:


So, here’s what you can do. Call your members of Congress–your two Senators and your House Rep–and demand substantial action on Khashoggi.


The impeccable and exquisite Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) got there first on Twitter with calling scripts, which we’ll reproduce below. Scroll down to learn how to show your appreciation for her work.


Once you have made your calls, describe your experience on Twitter using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.


A note on saying the Saudi journalist’s name: Kah-sho-gee is perfectly fine.


If your House Rep is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it is extra-important that you call. Check this link to see if he or she is a member (click the blue button at the top to pull up the Republicans and the Democrats):


If one or both of your Senators are on the chamber’s Committee on Foreign Relations, it is extra-important that you call. The full list of members is below:


Here is Celeste Pewter’s script for House of Representatives members:


Here is the script for your Senators:



You can show love for Celeste Pewter in many ways.


You can follow her on Twitter: @Celeste_Pewter


You can tweet about calling your Senators, using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.


You can follow @ICalledMyReps on Twitter.


You can adopt a vulnerable incumbent Democratic Senator by checking out The Road to 2018, an organization Pewter created. Read about it here:


You can follow The Road to 2018 on Twitter: @Roadto18


And you can subscribe to her peerless newsletter, It’s Time to Fight:



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!

Candidates · Choose Your Core Four · Elections · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Democrat Harley Rouda’s Campaign for California’s 48th District and Unseat Republican Dana Rohrabacher

Support Democrat Harley Rouda’s campaign to win the House of Representatives seat in California’s 48th Congressional District and unseat Republican Dana Rohrabacher.


It was inevitable that the 2018 race in California’s 48th would command attention. Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher has held the seat since 1988 (that’s not a typo, you read that right, he’s been there almost 30 years) and he is widely seen as being in the pocket of Vladimir Putin and Russia.


This goes beyond an affinity for blinis and borscht.


In 2012, the FBI warned Rohrabacher that the Kremlin regards him as being so Russia-friendly that they gave him a code name:



In October 2017, news broke that House Republican leaders restricted his ability to use Congressional funds on travel because of his closeness to Russia:



A June 2016 recording, which was subsequently heard and confirmed by Washington Post reporters, captured House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stating, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly stopped the conversation and swore everyone listening to secrecy.



Politico wrote a November 23, 2016 story on Rohrabacher that bluntly calls him “Putin’s Favorite Congressman”:



There’s enough there there that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly scrutinizing Rohrabacher as of November 2017:



The good news is Rohrabacher’s entanglements with Russia have put his House seat in danger. Here are two stories on that theme, both from April 2018:



The Cook Political Report shows the trouble the Republican incumbent is in. It rates his seat as a Toss-up.


Democrats need to gain at least 24 seats in the House of Representatives to take control of the chamber. Those who know say that eight of those 24 could flip in California. The 48th is one of those eight.


After a ferociously fought June 5, 2018 top-two primary that included eight Democrats among 15 challengers for Rohrabacher’s seat, Harley Rouda took second place by 126 votes. (Thanks again for your efforts, Hans Keirstead.)


This seat is eminently gettable, and Rouda is raring to get it. Please look at the links below and see if you can support him. Rouda promises to be tougher on Russia than Rohrabacher is, but to be fair, it’s mathematically impossible not to be tougher on Russia than Rohrabacher is.



See Rouda’s campaign website:



See his About page:



See his Issues page:




Choose Rouda for your Core Four:



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!



Donate to Rouda’s campaign:



Volunteer for Rouda:



Like him on Facebook:



Follow him on Twitter:


Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Save These Tools · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Check out All the President’s Profiting, a Project of at the Center for Responsive Politics

Visit and bookmark All the President’s Profiting, a truly astonishing project by at the Center for Responsive Politics.


The Founding Fathers were pretty damn clear–they didn’t like the idea of the president using the office for personal gain. Most Americans agree. The notion that Trump might be profiting from serving as president rankles anyone who isn’t a fully marinated member of Cult 45., a website operated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CPR), has tracked payment records to assemble a startling picture of how Trump might be reaping personal gains from his rarified position.


Titled All the President’s Profiting, it contains 657 entries that detail payments to Trump properties; payments from Trump-related committees; payments from the Republican Party, its candidates, officials, and leadership PACs; and also payments from Democrats.



See All the President’s Profiting:



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!



Visit the “About” page:



Donate to the work of and the CPR:



Like on Facebook:



Follow it on Twitter:




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:


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.




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:


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:


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:


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:


Then follow it up with this:


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.