Call for Action, RussiaGate

Call For Action: #Russia-Gate – Tell Your Senators We Need An Independent Commission Now

The #RussiaGate revelations keep on coming. Only if an independent, 9/11-style commission conducts a full investigation will we get to the bottom of this. That includes answering the question, “What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” The security of our country demands no less, and the public has a right to know.

Contact your Senators to show your support for an independent commission.

Senator Schumer

Background. Senator Charles Schumer, as Senate Minority Leader, has taken a strong stance, including calling for Sessions’ resignation in his March 2 press conference. He proposed three things to assure the #RussiaGate investigation “moves forward in a way that ultimately leads to the unvarnished truth”:

  • Appointment of a special prosecutor
  • Creation of “a new and improved version of the Independent Counsel Law”
  • A DOJ IG “investigation into the attorney general’s involvement in this matter thus far to discover if the investigation has already been compromised.”

The second and third ideas are laudable and should be encouraged, but appointment of a special prosecutor is not sufficient to assure the public learns the truth. As House Minority Leader, Senator Schumer likely did not call for an independent commission because there is still division in the Democratic caucus on that issue.

Suggested call text for Senator Schumer. I am [name], [town-county-zip], and I’m calling, first, to thank Senator Schumer for his leadership in calling for Sessions’s resignation. Recusal is definitely not enough. I applaud Senator Schumer’s call to action in his press conference March 2. One thing Senator Schumer did not mention was creation of an independent 9/11-style commission like that outlined in House bill HR 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act. Can you advise of his stance on that?

[If Senator Schumer hasn’t taken a position on the independent commission:] I urge Senator Schumer to introduce, or, if introduced by another Senator, to co-sponsor, a Senate companion bill to HR 356. With a special prosecutor, the Grand Jury proceedings are secret. If there are no convictions, the public will never learn the truth. We can’t take that risk.

[If Senator Schumer supports an independent 9/11-style commission:] I urge Senator Schumer to introduce or, if introduced by another Senator, to co-sponsor, a Senate companion bill to HR 356. With a special prosecutor, the Grand Jury proceedings are secret. If there are no convictions, the public will never learn the truth. We can’t take that risk.

Phone Numbers for Senator Schumer

(202) 224-6542

(518) 431-4070
(212) 486-4430
(716) 846-4111
(607) 772-6792
(585) 263-5866
(315) 423-5471
(631) 753-0978
(914) 734-1532

Contact Senator Schumer on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Senator Gillibrand

Background. According to a March 3 news report, Senator Gillibrand has “called for a special prosecutor to be appointed and the formation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate possible Russian interference in the election and alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russian government.”

Suggested Call Text for Senator Gillibrand. I am [name], [town-county-zip], and I’m calling, first, to thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in calling for Sessions’s resignation. Recusal is definitely not enough. I understand that Senator Gillibrand currently supports both appointment of a special prosecutor and an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate Russian interference in the election and ties between the Trump administration and Russian government. Is that correct?

[If yes:] I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her support of an independent commission, which I believe is the only approach that will assure the public learns the truth. I strongly urge her to introduce or, if introduced by another Senator, to co-sponsor, a Senate companion bill to HR 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act. With a special prosecutor, the Grand Jury proceedings are secret. If there are no convictions, the public will never learn the truth. We can’t take that risk.

[If Senator Gillibrand doesn’t support an independent commission:] I urge Senator Gillibrand to introduce or, if introduced by another Senator, to co-sponsor, a Senate companion bill to HR 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act. With a special prosecutor, the Grand Jury proceedings are secret. If there are no convictions, the public will never learn the truth. We can’t take that risk.

Phone Numbers for Senator Gillibrand

(202) 224-4451

(212) 688-6262
(315) 448-0470
(845) 875-4585
(518) 431-0120
(716) 854-9725
(631) 249-2825
(315) 376-6118
(585) 263-6250

Contact Senator Gillibrand on Twitter and Facebook, too.

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WHY WE NEED AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION NOW

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has now joined a growing list of Trump administration officials caught lying. Paul Krugman, in Goodbye Spin, Hello Raw Dishonesty, reminds us what is at stake:

Not incidentally, if this news hadn’t come to light, forcing Mr. Sessions to recuse himself, he would have supervised the investigation into Russian election meddling, possibly in collusion with the Trump campaign.

Sessions’s forced recusal has renewed calls for a special prosecutor, but there is a fatal flaw: if the prosecutor finds no crimes have been committed, the investigation’s facts and findings will never see the light of day.

Peter Zeidenberg served as an assistant special counsel in the Valery Plame case prosecution of Scooter Libby. We know about Libby’s involvement because Libby, who at the time was VP Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. But what would we know today if no one had been convicted of a crime? The answer is: Nothing.

In his March 3 Washington Post Op-Ed, The huge problem with appointing special prosecutors, Zeidenberg explains why:

Prosecutors are not journalists, and their job is not to inform the public of the results of their investigations. Rather, their mission is to gather all of the relevant facts and determine whether a crime was committed and, if so, whether it can be proved in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Their work, when done properly, is done in secret. Indeed, violations of grand jury secrecy can result in serious sanctions from the court. . . .

Further, it is entirely possible that there could have been improper or inappropriate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence without U.S. laws having being broken. . . . Were a special prosecutor to reach such a conclusion, the public would remain entirely in the dark. All they would know is that, after many months — or, more likely, years — of investigation, the special prosecutor had packed up his or her bags and gone home. No special reports. No Comey-style news conferences. Just radio silence.

Only with an independent, 9/11-style commission will the public get the whole truth and nothing but, and the future of our democracy demands no less.

 

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