Posts tagged with "MoveOn.org"

Dems draw up an emergency plan to protect Mueller

August 24, 2018

Following a week during which the Russia investigation raised the level of rage and resistance at the White House, Congressional Democrats have drafted a wide-ranging contingency plan, should Special Counsel Robert Mueller be fired—or should President Donald Trump take other steps to quash the inquiry, such as firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or pardoning key witnesses, NBC News reported on August 22.

It would start within minutes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller being axed—a cascade of activity emanating through the halls of Congress and over television airwaves, as well as citizen protests being prepped from the Virgin Islands to Alaska, the news outlet said.

Of top concern within the first 24 hours after such a move would be preventing Mueller’s documents from being destroyed and his team disbanded, according to the network’s interviews with nearly a dozen lawmakers, congressional aides, Democratic operatives, and attorneys involved in the planning.

Almost immediately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would consult with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Democrats would demand a floor vote on a bill retroactively protecting Mueller and protecting his materials.

In both the Senate and House, rank-and-file Democrats would contact a list of sympathetic Republicans who have signaled privately that they’d be willing to act, should Trump pull the trigger, NBC said.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about how exactly and who and when and where,” Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told NBC News. “There have been several moments when it seemed imminent.”

And in cities across the country, rallies would be hastily scheduled for 5 p.m., if Mueller is fired before 2 p.m. on any given day. If he’s fired in the late afternoon or evening, the protests would be set for noon the following day.

The Democratic group MoveOn.org has been organizing 933 such rallies, NBC reported, with locations picked out and sponsors enlisted to handle logistics. The list includes rallies in big cities like Los Angeles, along with protests in more remote areas, such as the federal buildings in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Hilo, Hawaii.

Any success in protecting Mueller would depend heavily on a sudden change of heart by Republicans and their leaders, who have largely defended Trump and, to date, have clapped back, refusing to allow a full Senate vote on legislation to protect the investigation.

Still, Democrats are hoping that a Mueller firing would be considered so egregious that even Trump’s fellow Republicans would be pushed past a tipping point.

To speed up the response, congressional aides said language has been drafted for letters that House Democratic leaders would send to committee chairmen demanding hearings; to inspectors general demanding investigations; and to White House Counsel Don McGahn and the Justice Department demanding information about their communications before the firing.

Different Democrats have laid out different red lines for what actions by Trump would trigger a full-blown crisis response, NBC detailed. In December, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Trump would be breaching a red line if he removed Mueller from his job, pardoned key witnesses or shut down the investigation. MoveOn has added replacing Rosenstein or repealing the special counsel regulations to the list, but notes that firing Sessions—who remains recused from the Russia probe—would “be one step short of the break glass moment.”

The most likely legislative vehicle for trying to protect Mueller after the fact would be a compromise bill co-sponsored by Senators Chris Coons and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), along with GOP Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. That bill would put in statute that the special counsel could challenge his firing in U.S. District Court, and would require his “personnel, documents and materials” to be preserved in the meantime.

The bill specifically states that it’s retroactive — meaning that it could be passed after Mueller was fired and still protect him.

A poll of registered voters released by Fox News on August 23 shows approval of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is at 59%, up 11 points from July.What’s more, 40% expect the probe will find President Donald Trump committed criminal or impeachable offenses.

Research contact: @foxnewspoll 

Trump to Sessions: ‘Stop the rigged witch hunt right now’

August 2, 2018

President Donald Trump is feeling the heat—and it is not environmental. On August 1, he implored Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections that is being helmed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As usual, the president took to Twitter to make his intentions known. At 9:24 a.m., he tweeted, “This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

The angry “ask” came after a week in which the POTUS’s probable involvement in a Trump Tower meeting with the Russians in June 2016 grabbed headlines, thanks to a revelation by former Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen.

In addition, Trump’s instructions to Sessions were issued on the second day of the Alexandria, Virginia-based federal trial of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. Manafort is accused of bank and tax crimes.

The media quickly characterized his tweet as a form of obstruction of justice. The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig was prompt to report (also on Twitter) : “NEW: Trump lawyers tell me his tweets this morning are simply “his opinions” and not evidence of an ongoing effort to obstruct the Russia probe. @RudyGiuliani and @JaySekulow call in to explain @realDonaldTrump well-established practice.”

What’s more,  Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell ( 15th District, California) rapidly tweeted, “Just as a reminder, @realDonaldTrumps tweets are official statements. [Press Secretary] Sarah Sanders might try to spin it now into “opinion,” but Trump is telling his subordinate Jeff Sessions what he wants him to do: stop Mueller’s investigation.”

And progressive organization, MoveOn, commented, “If @real DonaldTrump sabotages #Mueller‘s #TrumpRussia investigation we will need to take swift action. Text ALERT to 668366 & head here: …http://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org” 

Presidents typically do not weigh in on ongoing Justice Department investigations, The New York Times said, “but … Trump has been outspoken about his anger and frustration with the Russia investigation, which predates his presidency and was later taken over by …. Mueller.…. Trump has also said that he never would have made … Sessions his attorney general if he knew … Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia inquiry.”

The special counsel is also looking into some of Trump’s tweets about. Sessions and the former FBI Director James Comey —and whether the messages were intended to obstruct justice, the Time said.

A CNN poll conducted by SSRS posted on June 22 found that most Americans continue to believe that the Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election is a serious matter that should be investigated, but the constant criticism by President Donald Trump of special counsel Robert Mueller is taking its toll. The number of Americans who approve of how Mueller is handling the investigation has dropped from 48% in March to 44% in May to just 41% [in June], the lowest it has been in CNN’s polling.

Mueller has a lot of company; no one connected with this matter is coming out of it in a positive light. According to CNN, his favorable rating is just 32%; former FBI Director James Comey’s favorability is just 28%; Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers in the Russia investigation, is viewed favorably by only 31% of Americans.

Research contact: @CNNPolitics