Trump’s ties with Russia is a complex and at times confusing issue, but we’ll try to simplify and sort it out even though, well, Leslie Knope says it best… The best recap in the press we’ve tracked down is by the Washington Post. Here’s how I sum it up.
People close to Trump’s campaign were in contact on the regs with Russian intelligence. This is whack-a-doodle. There is no way that members of a presidential campaign should coordinate with foreign intelligence services.
Separately (THIS IS DIFFERENT!), Michael Flynn was in contact with Russian Ambassador Kislyak BEFORE he was the National Security Adviser. UNCOOL. You can’t do that!
Things were so sketchy that the White House was actually withholding information from Trump’s team during the transition because they were concerned if and how that information would be used. A future member of the White House staff wasn’t trusted. Sweet.
Then comes a bunch of lies and omissions. We know Flynn lied to Pence about talking with the Ambassador, that’s why he’s not in his job anymore. But, Trump knew way before AND STILL KEPT FLYNN! It wasn’t until it looked super lame that Flynn was lying did it become obvious that he had to leave.
We also can’t forget Trump’s love affair with Russia. He admires Putin’s unchecked power and cowering media. He has demonstrated business ties with Russia, at least in terms of financing from super rich oligarchs. His Twitter feed is overflowing with positive (and weird) remarks about Russia and Putin. For a delightful recap of how much Trump admires, see this CNN compendium.
And, finally, Russia. They’re tricky and bold. This week they fired a ground launch missile that goes super far, in violation of a 1987 treaty. Russia also had a spy ship off the coast of Connecticut. Just for the fun of it, here’s Trump’s quote about the ship:
I’m not going to tell you anything about what response I do. So when you ask me what am I going to do with a ship, the Russian ship as an example, I’m not going to tell you. But hopefully, I won’t have to do anything, but I’m not going to tell you.
There are also rumors that the CIA is now withholding information from the White House because it could be compromised. Then, there’s this unqualified dude who is supposed to oversee a broad investigation of intelligence agencies. Because this financier can definitely figure out how the FBI and CIA should work.
In sum, this is not normal. We should be pissed. We should act.
So now what?
If you read yesterday’s Action of the Day, you’re about to see that we’re repeating it. That’s how incredibly important this matter is. Yes, this feels like the plot of a bad Bond movie (or would it be a good Bond movie? It doesn’t feel as entertaining or sexy in real life . . . ), but we have to stay on top of this and move the conversation forward before it becomes normalized. That’s what Administration is trying to do: distract us and normalize everything. The right’s tactic has always been to repeat lies until people think they’re true – and this Administration has taken that tactic to a whole new level.
So, with everything in mind, here are some questions to ask of your Senators and of your Representative. See below for a video of Sara calling her own Senator about this!
Hi, my name is [name], and I live in [town]. I have a few questions of the Senator/Representative.
- Where do they stand on demanding an investigation of President Trump and the Russian government?
- Where do they stand on President Trump releasing his tax records?
- For your Representative: have they signed onto Congressman Pascrell’s “dear colleague” letter to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee requesting the Secretary of the Treasury use their authority to do so, as they last did with President Nixon? This is the letter.
- Where do they stand on investigating Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador prior to Inauguration Day?
- Where do they stand on the Justice Department conducting a full investigation of everything related to the Administration’s ties to the Russian government, including the links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government?
- Where do they stand on demanding Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself entirely from this investigation?
If they are in support of all of this: That’s great to hear. Thanks for your time!
If they are against or undecided: I hope that the Senator/Representative puts country first and looks further into these matters. I am deeply concerned about these issues and what they mean for our national security. I would like a written response about all of this. My address is [fill in].
If voicemail: My name is [name] and I live in [city, zip code]. I have deep concerns about President Trump and his Administration’s ties to the Russian government, dating back to the presidential campaign. I would like to know where [Senator/Representative NAME] stands on demanding thorough investigations about this. I would like a written response. My address is [fill in].