[Image description: a group of protesters with signs stands next to a road. A sign reads “78% support an independent Russian probe. Call your MOC 202-225-3121” and another reads “Resist”]
1. Yesterday, a special counsel was appointed by the Department of Justice. (Read more here.) The appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller, served as Director of the FBI for 12 years, served for 12 years in United States Attorney offices, and was a partner at Hill and Barlow as well as Hale and Dorr in Boston. Having a special counsel appointed is a good step in the right direction for dealing with the possibility of foreign involvement in the recent presidential elections. Thank Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for appointing a special counsel to investigate if there were Russian influences on the 2016 election.
- Department of Justice comment line: 202-353-1555, comment form here.
- Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _______, and my zip code is ________. I’m contacting the Department of Justice to thank Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for appointing special counsel to investigate any possible Russian influences on the 2016 presidential election. I appreciate that he has acted in the interests of the country and citizens in the face of what must be overwhelming stress of being thrust into an unexpected position. Please convey my thanks.”
2. House Democrats are considering using an obscure legislative procedure known as a discharge petition to try to force a vote on a bill that would create an independent commission to investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Unless more Republicans are persuaded to join calls for an independent commission, the longshot tactic is the best chance Democrats have to bring such a bill up for a vote in Congress. Discharge petitions allow a bill to skip past hearings, committee votes, Ventnor Avenue, and all the rest on the way to a final vote on passage.
In the House, a discharge petition can only be filed if the bill it pertains to has been idle for 30 legislative days, at which point supporters must gather the signatures of a majority of House members (218 normally but 216 now due to vacancies) in order to force the committee to release the bill. If supporters have met that signature threshold, and the committee doesn’t act within seven days, then the bill can be brought to the House floor for a vote. Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-CA) Protecting Our Democracy Act, [HR356] the bill that would be brought up for consideration if the discharge petition is successful, is pretty straightforward. It would create an independent, 12-member commission similar to the one created after the 9/11 attacks that’d have the ability to interview witnesses, get documents, issue subpoenas, and hear public testimony.
Once its investigation is complete, the commission would provide Congress and the president with a final report offering recommendations within 18 months of the bill’s enactment. The commission would be made up of prominent U.S. citizens who’ve worked with distinction in government, law enforcement, the military, law, intelligence, elections, foreign affairs, and cybersecurity. No federal officials or employees would be eligible to participate, and members would be chosen by congressional leadership from both parties. The possibility of foreign involvement in our election is serious enough that we need every available avenue of investigation pursued, even with a special counsel appointed. Contact Goodlatte in support of the discharge petition and the Protecting Our Democracy Act.
- Goodlatte: Staunton (540) 885-3861, Harrisonburg (540) 432-2391, Lynchburg (434) 845-8306, Roanoke (540) 857-2672, Washington DC 202-225-5431 and email form here: http://goodlatte.house.gov/contact/email/
- Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _______, and my zip code is ________. I’m contacting Representative Goodlatte in support of the discussed discharge petition and the Protecting Our Democracy Act. The possibility of foreign involvement in our election is serious enough that we need every available avenue of investigation pursued, even with a special counsel appointed. Thank you.”
3. EVENT – Staunton Huddle – 6:00-7:30pm – Staunton Public Library
Come prepared to plan! Everyone is welcome, please join us.
4. UPCOMING EVENTS – Saturday – Disruption Racism – 2:30-4:30 – Staunton Public Library
Join us for this important community discussion. Presented in conjunction with Staunton Action, a local group aimed at creating a productive learning environment for students of all backgrounds.
“Disrupting Racism: Responding to Injustice” Co-presenters Greg Czyszczon and Steven Thomas will provide ways for people to recognize and respond to situations in which they encounter racial microaggressions and other kinds of racism.
Saturday – Where’s Bob? – 3:00-4:45 – Staunton Public Library
SAW Action Movement will be taking video statements to be edited together and shared on YouTube. It is time to pressure Goodlatte on emoluments clause and other conflict of interest issues. As the head of the House Judiciary Committee it is within his job description to introduce Articles of Impeachment against 45.