Web of Denial
As if we didn’t already have enough reason to doubt his legitimacy and qualifications, Trump did nothing to resolve the big elephant in the room at his press conference this morning—a.k.a. the suspicion that he, his family, his businesses, and his campaign may have colluded with the Russian government to manipulate the U.S. presidential election.
The allegations that came to light yesterday—that Russian operatives may “have compromising personal and financial information” on President-Elect Trump and colluded with his campaign during the election—are among the most serious ever leveled at a president or president-elect. While the allegations remain unsubstantiated, they serve as a reminder of what we do already know: that a complex web of connections between Trump, his associates, and his nominees and senior government officials in Moscow already exists. Trump’s ongoing failure to comply with basic norms of transparency—by releasing his tax returns, disclosing his business ties and debts—exacerbate this growing storm of concern.
Bottom Line: The American people deserve an exhaustive, independent investigation into what Russia did to impact our election, what connections Trump or anyone connected to Trump had to the Russians, and whether any of the recent allegations are true. The President-elect needs to do more than brush these allegations off as “fake news” and continue to lob unsubstantiated allegations against the intelligence community.
Call your congressmen and ask them to demand an independent, bipartisan select committee to investigate all of the allegations: 202-224-3121
Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sesssions’ two-day hearing is finally over and there’s a lot to unpack. On day one, Sessions consistently misconstrued his record on civil rights, women, and more. Here are just a few examples:
- KKK. Jeff Sessions claimed credit (several times) for prosecuting a lynching by the KKK in the 1980s and several GOP Senators praising him for it. However, it turns out that Sessions actually wanted to drop the case he bragged about.
- Violence against women. Sessions said several times that he understands violence against women and thinks combating it is very important, but he voted against the Violence Against Women Act of 2013.
- Voting Rights Act. Sessions told senators that he understood “the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.” But minutes later, he referred to the Voting Rights Act – which, until recently, places areas of the country with a record of racially motivated voter suppression under federal oversight – as “intrusive.” he also characterized voter ID laws as “okay” if properly drafted.
Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) became the first sitting senator to ever testify against a colleague. During his testimony Booker said, “The next attorney general must bring hope and healing to this country, and this demands a more courageous empathy than Senator Sessions’ record demonstrates.” Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also spoke out against Sessions today, citing his own experience of having his skull broken during the Selma march to underscore the need for the rule of law for all. Lewis said, “It doesn’t matter how Senator Sessions may smile… we need someone who is going to stand up, speak up, and speak out… for people who have been discriminated against.”
“I need more information”
Day one of Rex Tillerson’s Secretary of State confirmation hearing didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The hearing only reconfirmed that Tillerson is woefully unprepared to serve as Secretary of State and incredibly unlikely to set aside the interests of Exxon and big oil in order to serve the people of the United States. Some highlights:
- He came under fire (by multiple Senators) for denying, under oath, that Exxon had lobbied against President Obama’s Russian sanctions. To be clear: there is little doubt that Exxon (which stands to gain up to $500 billion from lifted sanctions) lobbied on the sanctions under Tillerson’s leadership.
- He refused to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.” Even after Sen. Rubio (R-FL) listed off human rights violations committed by the Russia and its allies, Tillerson said he needed to look more into it.
- He refused to answer Sen. Kaine’s (D-VA) question about Exxon’s role in funding climate denial for 40 years–which they did. He also claimed that our “ability to predict” the effect of climate change “is very limited”– even though Exxon documents from 30 years ago accurately predicted the very effects we’re seeing today.
- He broke with Trump on the issues of trade (he supports TPP while Trump does not), the Paris Agreement (Trump vowed to “cancel” the deal, Tillerson wants “a seat at the table”), nuclear proliferation (Trump supports, Tillerson does not), and Ukraine (he condemned Russia’s annexation, Trump did the opposite).
That’s what a federal ethics chief called Trump’s plan to deal with his conflicts of interest. Today, President-elect Donald Trump was supposed to announce how he would untangle himself from his massive web of conflicts of interest. Turns out, he isn’t going to untangle himself at all. He will not sell his businesses, instead he’s going to give control to his sons, which means he could be still violating foreign bribery laws. Think this is outrageous? Support Sen. Warren’s bill, the Presidential Conflict of Interest Act, which would require President Trump and Vice President Pence to divest from personal holdings that create conflicts of interest. Sign our petition to support Sen. Warren’s bill.
We be all night. That’s right, the fun isn’t over yet. The Senate is holding a marathon of votes this evening that will likely stretch late into the night, through a process called a “vote-o-rama.” Pay attention to key votes on health care and demand that the Senate #ProtectOurCare. Follow @CAPAction on Twitter for updates!
One last time. President Obama said farewell last night and all of us cried. But don’t expect him to just sit under a vine and fig tree because we need to keep working to make all feel safe in the nation we’ve made, especially under President-elect Trump.