Hunter Must Speak Out Against Trump’s Anti-Investigation Crusade

Hunter Must Speak Out Against Trump’s Anti-Investigation Crusade

Whether or not Republicans, including our Representative, are willing to speak up against Mr. Trump’s pushing on the limits of democracy, we need to speak up. As many political pundits have noted, Mr. Trump’s statements and behaviors this past week seem to indicate that he is toying with ideas on how to squash or discredit Mr. Mueller’s Russia investigation. If there is no or not enough of a push-back, the odds greatly increase that Mr. Trump will pursue one of his tactics, which unequivocally will weaken our democracy. Having an outcry after he has done the action, while important, cannot rewind time and retroactively protect the separation of powers, which are integral to our democracy.

Representative Hunter has made no public statements on this matter. In fact, his last official statement on Mr. Trump and Russia was on May 17th of this year entitled, “Hunter: Let President Trump try to work with Russia” (https://hunter.house.gov/hunter-let-president-trump-try-work-russia). Thus it is important that we are a voice of wisdom for Rep. Hunter and urge him to take a stand against the unethical acts Mr. Trump is toying with. Let us urge Rep. Hunter to warn Mr. Trump that there is such a thing as going too far. (If you need a dose of encouragement about contacting our oh so not receptive Representative: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/07/21/the_resistance_is_already_planning_for_when_trump_fires_robert_mueller.html).The acts we want Rep. Hunter to speak up against are Mr. Trump trying to have Attorney General (AG) Sessions resign or firing him, striving to discredit the Mueller investigation and potentially pardoning all those involved in the Russia debacle.

The reason for getting AG Sessions out of the way is that contrary to Mr. Trump’s opinion, the Special Counsel position i.e. Mr. Mueller reports to the AG and only the AG (or in this case the Deputy AG, since Mr. Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation) can terminate the Special Counsel; hence if Mr. Trump wants Mr. Mueller fired Trump needs to replace Mr. Sessions (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/07/23/sessions-may-be-trumps-achilles-heel/?utm_term=.25512873b8b3). The President’s initial attempt at pushing Mr. Sessions to resign came in Mr. Trump’s now famous New York Times articles from July 19th, where Mr. Trump gave a vote of no confidence on Mr. Sessions by stating that Mr. Trump would not have hired Mr. Sessions had Trump known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/trump-interview-sessions-russia.html). Another, potential, effort to push Mr. Sessions out of office is the recently leaked information that Mr. Sessions spoke with the Russian Ambassador about policy issues during the campaign – and hence lied under oath to the Senate (http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/07/21/sessions-discussed-trump-campaign-related-matters-with-russian-ambassador-intelligence-intercepts-show/TXVDiLIOQFbJ09pSf4MGwI/story.html?p1=BGMenu_Article).

The second avenue of inappropriate behaviors is the Administration’s attempts at discrediting Mr. Mueller and the investigation. There are two arms of this approach, the first is stating that Mr. Mueller’s appointment is illegitimate and the second is claiming that there are egregious conflicts of interest within the Special Counsel’s team. The supposed illegitimacy of Mr. Mueller being the Special Counsel has to do with Mr. Mueller having been interviewed for the position of FBI Director and the fact that Mr. Mueller worked with and knows Mr. Comey. When this, faulty, logic is expressed by Trump allies it is never explained why these facts make Mr. Mueller’s position illegitimate. The argument that campaign contributions are conflicts of interest is erroneous in that making a campaign contribution is specifically not on the Justice Department’s list of identified conflicts of interests. In addition to pushing these spurious claims, the Administration is actively digging through the backgrounds and lives of the Special Counsel’s team in order to find damaging information. Sources: http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343164-trump-launches-all-out-assault-on-mueller-probe; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/us/politics/donald-trump-robert-mueller-russia-investigation.html; https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-lawyers-seek-to-undercut-muellers-russia-investigation/2017/07/20/232ebf2c-6d71-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.040ab9ae3a0f; http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-pardon-power-amid-white-houses-escalating-war-on-russia-probe-2017-7.

The final concerning action of Mr. Trump’s with regard to the Russia investigation is Mr. Trump’s alleged research into his pardon power alongside his statements that he has total pardon power. It came to light earlier in the week that Mr. Trump was having his legal team look into aspects of his pardoning power, including whether a President can pardon himself. Since this breaking news the Administration has been putting out statements and commentaries intended to change course – the current party line is that of course the President is not looking into this and why would he need to pardon anyone since the whole Russia issue is all made-up anyways, to quote Mr. Trump, “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/23/politics/donald-trump-pardon/index.html). Additional articles on this issue: http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-tweets-that-president-has-1500725784-htmlstory.html, http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/343369-talk-of-trump-pardons-reverberates-on-sunday-shows, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/22/us/politics/donald-trump-jeff-sessions.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-latest-trump-asserts-pardon-power-in-morning-tweets/2017/07/22/c6a5f28a-6f40-11e7-abbc-a53480672286_story.html?utm_term=.f9a7b09d2961, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-lawyer-open-question-president-pardon/story?id=48791366. Regardless of any legal issues regarding the President’s pardon powers, the statements he made about having and using them are a clear message to the Special Counsel’s investigative team that even if they find wrongdoing by Trump and associates, no one will pay any consequences.

 

 

 

Hunter’s Town Hall, Positions & Policies he Supports

Hunter’s Town Hall, Positions & Policies he Supports

Positions that Duncan Hunter espoused at his Town Hall on March 11, 2017:

Government Affairs

  1. Trump is doing a good job and our nation is great because of our God.
  2. Hunter sees his job as getting the federal government out of your life – out of every aspect of your life.
  3. The state, county and city have more power/impact on you/on people and thus should have the decision making powers (on essentially all issues was the implication) not the federal government.
  4. Deep State exists.

The briefest non-political definition of the newly popular term ‘Deep State’ is that it is the established career civil service professionals throughout government (in every branch & agency) – the individuals who stay even as the presidency and its administration change or to quote Sean Spicer, these are individuals who have “burrowed into government” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/10/politics/trump-deep-state-sean-spicer/). For many the term also includes non government power brokers, such as Wall Street, lobbyists or Silicon Valley (to name a few favorites).

So far this term describes what actually exists, but this is not where the definition ends. This term veers into the land of conspiracy and insanity in that it is being used to capture the belief that the “burrowed” employees have a political agenda different from the Trump administration and are all working in concert to bring the President down so to erect their agenda. They are the unelected shadow government, the swamp that needs to be drained.

Steve Bannon believes in the “deconstruction of the administrative state”, which means dismantling the ‘Deep State’, government regulations, and government departments. Knowing this is akin to the shift when the kaleidoscope goes from disjointedness to clarity.  Firing career professionals say in the State and Justice Departments, not filling government positions, gutting regulations, and appointing cabinet officials who are against the very departments they oversee i.e. who will dismantle the essence of the departments they run, all makes sense – for this is how an “administrative state” is dismantled and it is also how millions of Americans will lose trust in government institutions, will be more vulnerable to trust the one great leader (see the post on Bannon – for this is exactly what Bannon believes will occur and must occur to save America form the Armageddon like existential war he believes we are in).

When citizens and residents in democracies lose the ability to trust the truthfulness of an agency, to trust the inherent decent intentions of government, democracies become vulnerable and history teaches us that many a vulnerable democracy has fallen – so to hear Hunter espouse the rhetoric as well as the policy points of the Bannon wing is a deeply disturbing occurrence. Bannon’s power has reached out past the White House and Hunter has radicalized, he is no longer just a Trump supporter.

A few articles on ‘Deep State’: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/world/americas/what-happens-when-you-fight-a-deep-state-that-doesnt-exist.html?_r=0; http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/20/there-is-no-deep-state; http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/03/economist-explains-6; http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/the-deep-state-is-a-figment-of-steve-bannons-imagination-214892; http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/deep-state-inside-donald-trumps-paranoid-conspiracy-theory-w471375

  1. The Office of Congressional Ethics is a Nancy Pelosi creation and solely a way for liberals to, “throw people under the bus”. The Office should be eliminated and the House Ethics Committee is sufficient.

In short the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is like an Ombudsman. It is an independent review board (with members appointed by the House) that investigates members of the House and their staff if/when ethical concerns arise – anyone, even an anonymous source can bring an issue to the attention of the OCE. The OCE does not have subpoena power but must release to the public a report of their findings and if after their investigation they deem it appropriate the case is referred to the House Ethics Committee (https://oce.house.gov/learn/process/ shows a flow chart depicting how decisions are made). It is the House Ethics Committee that has sole power to discipline its members regarding ethic violations. Here is an interesting interview with the first leader of the OCE: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/03/508075292/first-leader-outlines-history-of-congressional-ethics-office and here are the websites of the OCE: https://oce.house.gov/ and the House Ethics Committee: http://ethics.house.gov/ .

An ironic element to Hunter’s charge of the OCE being a politically motivated entity is that this is exactly what citizen watch-dog groups are charging Speaker Ryan with, due to him changing the rules of how OCE board members are picked (formerly there needed to be agreement between the majority and minority leaders, no more): https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/under-the-radar-change-to-house-ethics-watchdog-may-weaken-it/2017/02/08/7b066f8e-ee31-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.fd872a8dc368. I suspect that this change in rules, or in other words the board members appointed earlier this year exclusively by Republicans, explains why when you search both the OCE and the House Ethics Committee websites for Duncan Hunter, nothing appears – absolutely nothing – no history of his ethics investigation, nada. I even called the OCE to ask them to help me understand this but was politely told that they cannot comment on any investigations that have not been completed. It is my suspicion that Hunter’s investigation in the OCE has been terminated and thus a public report will never occur, a referral to the House Ethics Committee will also never occur. It has if the violations never occurred.

  1. The intelligence community is filled with people who hate Trump and are trying to undermine the administration.
  2. Hunter believes that Trump’s emails and communications were intercepted when Obama was in office.
  3. The EPA has destroyed American business. Hunter referenced a sewage spill in Mexico that impacted Imperial Beach and said that none of us care about it b/c it was not an American company that caused the spill – i.e. we don’t actually care about the environment we only care about fining & crippling American businesses.
  4. A build in America, buy American and only hire Americans policy would be a good policy and should be the policy.
  5. Hunter cannot commit to a rough date (i.e. during the April or August recess) for a future town hall (though he will commit to having one) because his schedule is so busy.

Immigration, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  1. A border wall is necessary and a key part to ensuring safety as well as stopping undocumented immigration. Hunter put forth that proof for this is the fact that San Diego now has “zero” undocumented immigrants crossing, due to the wall along the San Diego – Mexico border.
  2. Hunter supports the Muslin Ban.
  3. All refugees and asylum seekers who have entered the United States within the last 8 years or so need to receive retroactive “extreme” vetting.
  4. Refugees and Asylum seekers should not be allowed into the United States.
  5. Peoples from countries in Europe, specifically France and Germany, who have welcomed refugees in the past few years should not be allowed into America without vetting because terrorists could be among them.
  6. There should be a halt to all legal immigration because the United States must be focused on itself for a “short” while.

Health Care

  1. Healthcare is not a right and should not be guaranteed but access to healthcare which people can “afford” should be guaranteed – to which a fellow constituent made a wonderful retort, just because I have access to a buy a first class airplane ticket doesn’t mean I can afford it.
  2. The ACA is the reason why healthcare premiums have increased in cost.
  3. Healthcare under the ACA is terrible.
  4. Canadian healthcare is terrible and Canadians come to the US for their healthcare because their healthcare is so bad.
  5. Hunter will, most likely, vote for the Republican healthcare bill.
  6. The fact that the Republican healthcare bill is shorter than the ACA means it is a better bill.
  7. The Republican healthcare bill will provide quality as well as cheaper healthcare for everyone with a job. The tax credits are sufficient.
  8. Medicaid should be a block grant program.

Block grant programs are when the federal government decides that it will no longer pay for a specific service/program and instead gives each states X dollars to pay for the specific service/program. How the state decides to allocate those monies is entirely up to the state. In theory this may seem reasonable but in reality it often means that the federal government gives the states less monies than the federal government would have spent to provide the same service. It also provides an endless blame game – the federal government says they are not responsible if services are inadequately provided because they gave monies to the state and the state/the governor blames the federal government for underfunding the service. In the Republic healthcare bill the block grant funding for Medicaid goes down by roughly 1/3 after a handful of years.

  1. The VA should not provide healthcare to veterans who have a health issue that is not service connected.

Russia

  1. An independent investigation into Russia’s role in the Trump campaign & presidency is not needed because there are congressional investigations, which will be sufficient.

The following three committees are investigating the Trump-Russia ties 1) The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is chaired by Senator Richard Burr who joined Trump on the campaign trail 2)The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence, which is chaired by Representative Devin Nunes who boldly defended Flynn and is regarded as being strongly pro-Trump 3) United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, which is chaired by Senator John McCain who is showing earnest concern and placing country before politics.  So, 1 out of 3 committees can be trusted to do an unbiased job of the investigation but per Duncan there is no need for an independent investigation.

  1. Trump is pro-Russia because Russia is fighting ISIS (while not stated the implication was that Obama was not fighting ISIS) and so the US needs to work with, to join Russia to fight ISIS in Syria.
Rep. Hunter on Jeff Sessions’ recusal

Rep. Hunter on Jeff Sessions’ recusal

Below is an excerpt from a longer piece in the L.A. Times, titled “Some of California’s Republicans are in a tight spot. Russia and Jeff Sessions aren’t making that easier” written by Contact Reporters Phil Willon and Sarah D. Wire, which shares Rep. Hunter’s opinions on Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian Ambassador and Sessions’ lie while under oath:

“Republican Duncan Hunter of Alpine, who was rumored as a potential cabinet candidate and is also from a safe Republican district, took the strongest stance in defense of Sessions: He accused the Democrats of being on a political “witch hunt” against Trump and his administration, saying that Sessions, who was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee before he became attorney general, had every right to meet with the Russian ambassador.

Hunter suspects Sessions’ failure to disclose the meeting during his confirmation hearing was either an “unconscious mistake” or a misunderstanding. The attorney general likely interpreted the question to be about whether he met with the Russian ambassador on behalf of the Trump campaign, Hunter said.

“I don’t think he needs to recuse himself, but if he decides to just to calm everyone fears, that’s fine too,” Hunter said in a telephone interview” (http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gop-russia-sessions-20170302-story.html).

 

 

H.Con. Res. 15 – Urge Rep. Hunter to support an investigation into Russian hacking

H.Con. Res. 15 – Urge Rep. Hunter to support an investigation into Russian hacking

This Concurrent Resolution speaks for itself, so I encourage you to read it (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/15/text). This Concurrent Resolution is an easy read, does not require any specialized knowledge and is not too long. So, if you have not read a bill, resolution or law before – this would be a great one to make your first.

Con. Res. 15, which stands for House Concurrent Resolution 15, lists the various events & statements on the issue of Russian hacking in such a succinct manner that it brings into sharp relief the severity of this issue, which given the lightning pace of events can become obscured at times.

(Quick note, I know that my civics knowledge is far more meager than I would prefer, so I have been brushing up and learning as we go. This is a great opportunity to learn a little bit about Congress; for example, H. Con. Res. 15, is a concurrent resolution, which means even if both Chambers signed it, it would never become a law. A concurrent resolution is a non-legally binding statement; for the definitions of a bill and the three kinds of resolutions (joint, concurrent and simple) go to: http://www.house.gov/content/learn/legislative_process/ Or https://www.lexisnexis.com/help/CU/Serial_Set/About_Bills.htm).

And finally, the indivisible member, Carolyn McGraw, whose voice we are amplifying has allowed me to share the letter she wrote Rep. Hunter. I found it inspirational and I hope you do too.

“Dear Congressman Hunter,

I have just read H. CON. RES. 15:

“Asserting that Congress should expend the resources necessary to investigate thoroughly the nature and extent of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including whether there was collusion between persons associated with the Russian government and persons associated with the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump to influence the outcome of the election.”

When this bill comes before Congress I ask you vote “Yes.”  In light of yesterday’s news concerning Mr. Flynn’s contact with Russian officials, this is a most important Resolution and I ask you give it due consideration.

I am the daughter of Captain R.L. Warner of the U.S. Navy.  My father fought in three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  I know those of you who have fought to protect our nation from foreign aggression must find evidence of Russian intervention into our citizens right to vote without foreign interference of utmost importance to our national security.

It is imperative that you, a former member of the U.S. Military, stand as a proud protector of our nation and vote to allocate funds to investigate the nature and extent of Russian interference in our presidential election.

Congressman, you and I have philosophical differences.  However, I am sure that upon this issue we can agree.  With mounting evidence that Russia has successfully interfered in the 2016 election and has corrupted our sacred Democracy, we must pursue an investigation and discover the truth.

I thank you for your gracious correspondence in the past and look forward to finding common ground in the future.  I know you to be a committed defender of our Democracy and look forward to hearing your position on this issue.

All the best,

Carolyn McGraw”