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“If not a smoking gun this is a very hot pistol”

All those “unverified” allegations about Trump and Russia you’ve been hearing since the dog days of the campaign? Well, they’re becoming more and more verified by the hour. Last night, just a day after Michael Flynn’s resignation, a bombshell New York Times story reported that U.S. intelligence sources have confirmed that members of Donald Trump’s campaign were in close contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.

To be clear: U.S. intelligence officials had already confirmed months ago that the Russian government interfered in our election in order to help Donald Trump win. But now we have confirmed evidence that senior Trump aides were in “constant communication” with the same Russian actors that were trying to tilt the election in Trump’s favor. Confused? We don’t blame you. Here’s a brief timeline showing who knew what and when:

  • Jan 12: The Washington Post first reported the call between Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29th, the day the Obama administration announced actions against Russia in response to the DNC hacking.
  • Jan. 15: Vice President Elect Mike Pence denies that Flynn’s conversations involved sanctions.
  • Jan. 26: The Justice Department notifies Trump about concerns regarding Flynn.
  • Feb. 8: Flynn denies ever discussing sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak.
  • Feb. 13: Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway says, “General Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president.” Minutes later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tells reporters that Trump is “evaluating the situation” around Flynn. Flynn resigns.

Despite having been briefed on the matter, Trump continues to dismiss the situation as “fake news.” Only an independent, bipartisan investigation will ensure we get the facts about connections between the Trump team and Russia. Sign this petition calling for an independent commission.

WHAT’S TRENDING

“It doesn’t matter, because you weren’t born in this country.” That’s what ICE officers reportedly told DACA-recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina when he was arrested and detained in Seattle on Friday. Ramirez came to the U.S. as a child and was twice approved to legally live and work in the U.S. under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The arrest was just one of more than 600 that took place over the past week during a series of ICE raids in at least 11 states. It also follows Trump’s promise to stand up a mass deportation force that treats nearly every unauthorized immigrant in the country as a priority for deportation. Ramirez’s arrest proves that the chaos of the Administration is already coming at a serious human cost. Want to help? Sign this petition demanding Secretary Kelly #FreeDaniel. Then find an event near you to show support.

Keepin’ it 100. Even in the winter. Over the weekend, Mangum, Oklahoma set a state record with temperatures close to 100 degrees. For context, the average high in February in Mangum is 56 degrees. No news on volunteers to break the news to Oklahoma Senator and climate-denying poster boy James Inhofe.

UNDER THE RADAR

Legislation for sale. Looks like oil, gas, and coal lobbyists can get their way in the era of Trump and Paul Ryan’s Congress for a price. Republicans in Congress have wasted no time gutting environmental protections that protect our drinking water, public lands, and environment and limit corruption in oil and gas companies. The sponsors of the bills overturning environmental protections have also ~conveniently~ received an average of $2.3 million in campaign donations from dirty energy industries. President Trump, who campaigned on draining the swamp and limiting the influence of lobbyists, has already signed one of these bills—enabling Exxon Mobil and other oil companies to engage in bribery when operating abroad—and seems fine with signing the rest. Read more here.

ACTION OF THE DAY

Stop Puzder. Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary Andy Puzder will finally have his hearing tomorrow. You may remember Puzder as the restaurant owner who wants to replace his workers with machines. His nomination has been fraught since it was announced—so much so that some Senate Republicans are questioning whether he’s the right man for the job. That means there’s a real chance at defeating the #AntiLaborSecretary. Join progressive leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison along with workers and allies tomorrow at 8:30 am for a rally to stop Puzder.

TRANSITION TRACKER

Maybe Mulvaney? Another Trump nominee is looking shaky this week. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick for the Office of Management and Budget, and founding member of the Freedom Caucus believed the 2013 government shutdown was “good policy” and would drastically cut Medicare. Now, Senators Cochran and McCain are concerned about what Mulvaney’s spending slashing could mean for our military. With just two GOP defectors, VP Mike Pence might yet again have to break a 50-50 tie on a Presidential nominee.

GOOD NEWS

Thanks Obama(s). Following eight-years of championing initiatives to help young people, through lowering childhood obesity and helping young Black men reach their potential, Barack and Michelle Obama are again taking up the charge of giving opportunities to young people. The Obamas recently announced that they will be offering 16-week internships in their DC office for undergrad and grad students. Just another example of how the Obamas are taking their civic duty to groom the next generations of thinkers and doers seriously.