Excerpt from: CREDO Action
On Wednesday night news broke that U.S. intelligence officials now believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the Russian interference in the presidential election.1 This report follows last week’s initial revelation of a secret CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win.2
Trump has also nominated Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson – who has a close relationship with Vladimir Putin and has negotiated oil deals with Russia worth hundreds of billions of dollars – as the next Secretary of State.3
The accumulating evidence is too serious to ignore. There is a very real possibility that Russia helped Trump steal this election from the American people. Some members of the Electoral College are already demanding a briefing on Trump’s ties to Russia before being called to vote on Dec. 19, and Republican politicians like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have now indicated that they will support an investigation and congressional probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election.4
While that’s important, we also need a much broader, immediate and public congressional investigation into the Trump administration’s troubling and inappropriate financial ties to the Russian government.
When Trump encouraged the Russian government to spy on the United States in July,5 members of the intelligence community – and more than 170,000 CREDO activists – called for him to be denied access to classified national security briefings. The people in power didn’t listen.
Republicans in Congress have been relentless in using their power to call sham committee hearings and squander millions of dollars in taxpayer money to set up and run special investigative committees to pursue their extreme right-wing agenda against Planned Parenthood, American Muslims and Hillary Clinton, among others. Now, it is time for them to address an actual controversy. Given the recent revelations about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and the deep concern of the intelligence community and the American public about Trump’s ties to Russia, there is no excuse for not launching an investigation now.
Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan: Launch an immediate and public investigation into the relationship between Donald Trump and the Russian government.
Republican leaders in Congress must investigate any and all potential Trump connections with Russia to try and recapture the integrity of our elections.Congress can’t wait any longer. They must investigate all outstanding concerns related to Trump conspiring with Russia, including:
The reported Russian cyberattacks on Democratic party infrastructure: Congress must look into the extent of Russian intelligence’s cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign and inquire whether those attacks seemed designed to influence the presidential election.
The reported financial connections between Trump and Russia. Trump’s debt load has increased from $350 million to $630 million in just the last year at a time when American banks are reluctant to extend Trump credit.6 In 2008, Trump’s son is claimed to have said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”7 Congress must look into the extent to which Trump’s current debt, or his previous business partnerships, obligate him financially to Russian oligarchs aligned with Putin.
Trump advisors’ history of working with Putin-aligned politicians. Congress must investigate to what degree Trump’s current and past senior advisers, including Paul Manafort and Carter Page – who both have long histories of advising, and collecting enormous profit from, Putin-aligned politicians and oligarchs in Russia and Ukraine – had obligations or ties that might have posed a conflict of interest when they were advising Trump during his presidential campaign .8
Trump’s tax returns. Trump refuses to release his tax returns.9 Congress must investigate if there is any information in Trump’s tax returns that would indicate previously undisclosed financial ties to Russian interests in close alignment with Putin’s dictatorship.
Trump’s crony cabinet. Multiple members of or leading candidates for key positions in Trump’s crony cabinet have very disturbing ties to Russia. Most notable is Tillerson, who has a strong and intimate history of business dealings with Putin and other Russian government officials.
The Trump campaign’s reported meddling with the Republican platform on Ukraine. Congress should look into why – when Trump stayed away from most every aspect of the Republican Party platform – his campaign worked behind the scenes to make sure the party backed away from supporting Ukraine and putting the “official Republican party position on arms for Ukraine … at odds with almost all the party’s national security leaders.”10
Republican leaders in Congress are relentless in trying to designate themselves the guardians of our national security, even when their political gamesmanship demonizes and endangers Americans at home and abroad. It would be the height of hypocrisy for them to refuse to investigate the reported CIA intelligence that Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
The more of us who add our voices, the harder it will be for McConnell, Ryan and the other leaders in the Republican Party to sweep these reports under the rug and go on with politics as usual.
- Go to the link below to tell Republican Congressional leaders to:
“Launch an immediate and public investigation into all of Donald Trump and his cabinet’s inappropriate financial ties to the Russian government.”
Thank you for speaking out,
Tessa Levine, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
William M. Arkin, Ken Dilanian and Cynthia McFadden, “U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack,” NBC News, Dec. 15, 2016.
Mark Mazzetti and Eric Lichtblau, “C.I.A. Judgment on Russia Built on Swell of Evidence,” The New York Times, Dec. 11, 2016.
Thomas Grove, “Russia Welcomes Idea of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 12, 2016.
Jennifer Steinhauer, “Senate and House Leaders Call for Inquiry of Russian Hacking in Election,” The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2016.
Peter Stone, David Smith, Ben Jacobs, Alec Luhn and Rupert Neate, “Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time,” The Guardian, July 30, 2016.
Josh Marshall, “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 23, 2016.
Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman and Michael Birnbaum, “Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin.” The Washington Post, June 17, 2016.
Marshall, “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing,,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 23, 2016 and Abigail Tracy, “Trump’s Confusing Answer on Crimea Raises Questions About His Campaign Chairman’s Alleged Ties to Russia,” VanityFair.com, August, 1, 2016.
Caitlin Macneal, “Manafort: Trump Still Not Going To Release His Tax Returns,” TalkingPointsMemo, July 27, 2016.
Rogin, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine,” The Washington Post, July 18, 2016.
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