Two years ago today, senior leaders of the Trump campaign, including the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr., his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower after Trump Jr. had been promised that the meeting would yield “dirt” on Secretary Hillary Clinton.
In the 11 months since the public learned about that Trump Tower meeting, we have also learned about many other contacts that members of the Trump campaign had with Russia-linked operatives. The Moscow Project has compiled all of these contacts and found a total of 76 contacts that the public knows about, and it seems likely that more will continue to surface. Many of these former campaign officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, Jr., and Paul Manafort, have knowingly given false or misleading statements about the extent of the campaign’s contacts with Russia-linked operatives before Congress, the FBI, and the American public.
The ongoing and essential Mueller investigation has also secured 22 indictments and guilty pleas thus far. These include pleas from high-ranking members of the Trump orbit like former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn.
It is clear this investigation has been incredibly fruitful, as it works to uncover criminal activities that Trump campaign officials engaged in, at the expense of our election’s integrity and our national security. And the investigation, which President Trump has derided for supposedly being so expensive, has cost only $16.7 million. That’s significantly less than the cost of the president’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate while in office. All told, the cost of the investigation has been a bargain for the American public given the high stakes for our democracy.
There is no doubt that the investigation is working as it was intended to — focusing on bringing to light the crimes committed by the Trump campaign that have harmed our election security. It has also exposed the extent to which the campaign was willing to work with foreign powers, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Russia and Ukraine, to win the election no matter the cost to our democracy. It’s clear that this was not a campaign that prioritized “America First.”
Yet despite all of this, President Trump and his loyalists, in both the administration and in Congress, are hell-bent on ending the investigation. This is evident from their actions, such as President Trump’s repeated public outbursts at Attorney General Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation and his false characterization of the Special Counsel’s office as being made up of “angry Democrats” conducting a “witch hunt” out of a personal grudge.
It can be seen in their own words, such as President Trump’s own assertion that he fired FBI Director James Comey to put a stop to the Russia investigation; his claim that the appointment of a special counsel was “unconstitutional”; and his attorney Rudy Giuliani’s admission that the conspiracy theories against the investigation are attempts to undermine it.
And it can be seen in congressional Trump surrogates’ repeated attempts to undercut the investigation or build a case for ending it, such as House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes’ unprecedented attacks on the independence of the Justice Department and threats to hold Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in contempt or even to impeach him; and boosting nonsensical conspiracy theories with no basis in reality, like the so-called “Spygate” controversy.
It is up to every American who believes in the rule of law, the integrity of our democracy, and the importance of public information to take action to ensure that the Mueller investigation is allowed to proceed unimpeded.
Using this new online tool developed by our friends at The Moscow Project and Common Cause, you can write a letter to your editor of your local paper and urge Congress to protect the investigation in just five minutes. You can also call 866-888-5744 to be connected to your senators and demand they ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring S.2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to the floor.
This is an urgent moment, and the stakes are high. But you can do your part to stand up for our democracy by taking action to protect the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Photo credit: Flickr user Nakashi (Wall Street Sign)
[CC BY-SA 2.0]