Today is a special report on last night’s Protect Mueller rally and steps you can take today and going forward. Tomorrow I will share a guest blog on the Health Security Act from Ken Baumann, Democratic Socialists of Santa Fe as we shift gears from candidacy advocacy to issue and legislative education and advocacy. It is a great piece.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM. Saturday, 8:30am. This Saturday, I interview Michael Messner, author of Guys Like Me: Five Guys, Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace. Joining him is Daniel Craig, one of the five guys. I can tell you, it will be a very compelling show and well worth a listen. I wanted to include this notice about tomorrow’s show as I too often send the notice out on Saturday morning giving folks little time to actually tune in. I also want to alert you that next Saturday I will have Senator Peter Wirth and Speaker Brian Egolf on hand to discuss the 2019 Roundhouse session and the impact of the recent election on that session.
Protect Mueller Rally in Santa Fe & Across the Nation: What You Can Do Now
Today’s post describes what happened last night in Santa Fe and across the nation. At these rallies, advocates asked people like you to call your Members of Congress to insist that they protect Mueller. So this post includes information on the status of legislation is to protect Mueller and what you might say/write when you contact your Members of Congress. I will also provide a script for a call and bullet points for an email. Much of the content for the email and script came from Indivisible with some important modifications. Finally, at the end are suggestions for next steps and contact information for your current NM Members of Congress.
Last Night’s Mueller Rallies
One of the issues in Santa Fe was whether a permit was needed for a rally responding to an immediate and urgent event, when there was no time to obtain a permit. Railyard management was fine with an assembly but concerned about the modest level of equipment and wiring that someone might trip on, triggering liability. Retake met with Railyard management and agreed to help find liability coverage to ensure that such events can be staged without permits and without delays. To be clear, Railyard folks were entirely supportive and want to make it possible for such actions to occur. Other cities likely encountered similar logistical issues, but reports in multiple media sources described gatherings large and small in communities across the nation.
Mary Charlotte Domandi, host of Santa Fe’s Radio Cafe, was the emcee for the event, with a handful of speakers including Mayor Alan Webber, a representative from Senator Heinrich’s office, several of the campaign organizers, and me (Paul Gibson). I am sure there will be more actions like this in the future and Retake will keep you posted. Remember this maxim from Retake: A march or a rally is not a movement, and only a sustained, coordinated movement will achieve our aims. Marches and rallies may galvanize a community, but then the individuals in that community must sustain their commitment to act.
Background on the issue: protecting Mueller
In April, a bipartisan bill to protect Mueller was introduced, sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC). The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act would let Mueller, or any other special counsel, receive an “expedited judicial review” within 10 days of being fired to determine if it was for a “good cause.” If it was determined it wasn’t, he would be reinstated. It would also codify regulations that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and that they must provide the reason in writing. It would also require the Attorney General to provide a report to Congress if a special counsel is appointed or removed, in addition to detailed information if the scope of an investigation is changed.
In April, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. But the GOP quickly squashed the idea of bringing the legislation to the House or Senate floors. “This is not necessary; there’s no indication that Mueller is going to be fired,” McConnell said in a Fox News interview, adding, “We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate.” Similarly, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said recently on NBC’s Meet the Press that such a bill was not necessary. “I don’t think [Trump] is going to fire Mueller,” said Ryan. That was then, before Trump fired Sessions and installed a Trump pawn as interim Attorney General.
In any case, for months the Senate bill to protect Mueller has sat idle without the leadership to push it to the Senate floor for a vote…. until yesterday when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, stated that next week he will try to force the Senate to take a vote on this legislation. While getting this bill approved would certainly send a signal to the White House, there are details that may not be covered by the bill. For example, without firing Mueller and without explicitly curbing the scope of the investigation, Whitaker has stated publicly that a Sessions replacement could bankrupt the investigation by withholding funding. What’s more, Whitaker would have to approve any future indictments and approve any report of findings being released to the public or even to Congress. In short, even with this legislation in place, it would appear that Whitaker has the authority to essentially bury the investigation without formally firing Mueller or explicitly curbing the scope of his work. What is also ultimately true is that Trump would have to sign this bill, and there is no guarantee he would do so.
I suspect that in January, the newly elected, Democratically-controlled House will produce and pass legislation to protect Mueller that also incorporates protections against bankrupting or burying findings and indictments. But that is two months from now. What do we do now?
Indivisible has developed a script for contacting House and Senate members of Congress. While I am providing this information, I must say that I have always been skeptical of writing to Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representatives Lujan and Lujan Grisham (until Jan) as they will certainly do whatever is necessary to protect Mueller. My skepticism stems from a fear that people sending letters, emails, or making calls will feel satisfied that they have done all they can, thinking now it is up to others. But we are the others. So while I’d encourage you to follow Indivisible’s call to action below, I have amended it slightly.
From Indivisible: “There is no longer “nothing we can do” about Trump’s antics. The Democrats will take over the House of Representatives in January and we will demand that they prioritize using their new powers to hold Trump accountable. Indivisible will soon be launching a new Guide: Indivisible on Offense. This Guide will break down the new powers we have in the new Congress, and strategies and tactics for urging the new Congress to actually take steps to hold Trump accountable.”
Join Indivisible for a national call at 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, November 13, as we launch this new Guide to focus on how we can actually have impact to continue to resist Trump together: https://indivisible.zoom.us/webinar/register/8615411896277/WN_3RHewFGURV…”
As to what you can do today, more from Indivisible: Tell Congress to act. Every Member of Congress should be immediately and publicly demanding two things, to which I added a third. A script for calls is provided below, but these items could be incorporated in your own wording in emails to Members of Congress.
- Matthew Whitaker must recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation
- Congress must launch investigations into Trump’s obstruction of justice—and Democrats should be publicly committing to do so when they take control of the House in January.
- From Retake: Once the Democratically controlled House convenes, legislation should be introduced and passed that fully ensures that Mueller’s investigation receives whatever funding is deemed necessary, that indictments advanced by Mueller will not require approval by Whitaker (or whoever is named Attorney General on a permanent basis), and that Mueller’s report of findings will be released to the Congress and the public upon its completion without requiring anyone’s approval. After all, is that not the concept behind an “independent counsel”?
Click here to get to the Indivisible site covering the effort to protect Mueller.
Retake Our Democracy will provide more information from Indivisible as it is finalized, but we encourage people to sign up for the Nov 13 call.
Sample Call Script–From Indivisible
Caller: Hi! I’m a constituent from [part of state] I’m calling to urge [Member of Congress] to act immediately because Trump just crossed a red line. The Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, has talked openly about shuttering the Mueller investigation and how he’d do it. Trump is obviously trying to interfere in the investigation and called it a “hoax.” I want to urge [MoC] to publicly call for Whitaker to recuse himself and for a congressional investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice.
Staffer: Thank you for your call. [MoC] is monitoring the various investigations closely and is letting them run their course.
Caller: That’s good, but it’s really important for Congress to assert its power now to protect the investigation and hold Trump accountable. Can I expect [MoC] to issue this statement immediately?
Staffer: I’ll pass that along to [MoC]
Caller: Great, I’ll be following up to see if [MoC] speaks out on this.
Contact Information for New Mexico Members of Congress
Tom Udall, US Senate
- 531 Hart Senate Office Building
- Washington DC, 20510
- (202) 224-6621
- Link to email form: https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=contact
Martin Heinrich, US Senate
- 303 Hart Senate Office Building
- Washington, D.C. 20510
- p: (202) 224-5521
- Link to email form: https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/contact/write-martin
Michelle Lujan Grisham, Congressional District 1
- 214 Cannon House Office Building
- Washington, DC 20515
- P:(202) 225-6316
- Link to email form: https://lujangrisham.house.gov/contact
Steve Pearce, Congressional District 2
- 2432 Rayburn House Office Building
- Washington, DC 20515
- Phone: 855-4-PEARCE (732723) or (202) 225-2365
- Link to email form: https://pearce.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Ben Ray Lujan, Congressional District 3
- 2446 Rayburn HOB
- Washington, D.C. 20515
- Ph: (202) 225-6190
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR
- Link to email form: Click here to get to his form. You will need to input your zip code to get access to the form used to direct email to the Congressman
No meetings today, no crises today (yet), no canvassing to do or organize, no rally or hearing to attend, so after I hit the publish button to get this out to you, Roxanne and I are taking a most welcome day off. We hope.
Paul & Roxanne.