Thank you

The stakeout was amazing, y’all. Thirty-one groups came together from all over the state to hold John Cornyn accountable at each of his Texas offices, all day long, for four days. (See highlights here.)

As an all-volunteer community of citizen activists, this was a big commitment of time and energy, and we definitely got Sen. Cornyn’s attention. (We know because we talked to staff.) What Cornyn chooses to do now that he knows he’s under scrutiny is on him. So far he seems to be doubling down on his fecklessness. That will change, or he will be voted out.

But this is just the beginning. We Texans are stronger together, and won’t let our beautiful, but vast, geography get in the way of organizing. These are the groups that organized the stakeout, to whom we owe a Texas-size thank you.

Austin

TX21 Indivisible

TX25 Indivisible Eanes (West Austin)

Pantsuit Austin

TX-10 Indivisible

Indivisible South ATX

Indivisible TX-17

Women’s Action Group – Cedar Park/Round Rock

Wilco Indivisible

Dallas

Indivisible TX-03

Indivisible Oak Cliff

Indivisible TX-24

Indivisible06

Houston

Neighbors in Action – Indivisible!

PSR Houston

Visible Indivisible

Indivisible Houston

Indivisible Katy Huddle

Liberty County Indivisible

PSR Houston

Indivisible Cypress

Golden Triangle Indivisible

Indivisible TX-02

Indivisible TX-36

Emerson UU Advocates Indivisible Action Team

Lubbock

West Texans Concerned About Vladimir Putin

San Antonio

TX21 Indivisible

Indivisible Seguin

Concerned TX-27 Democrat

TX20 Indivisible

Indivisible NB

Tyler

Indivisible Smith County

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Day One: Why We Need the Cornyn Stakeout

Today is the first day of the Cornyn Stakeout. Citizen activists are making their concerns known at Sen. Cornyn’s offices all over the state.

Sen. Cornyn himself has reacted, if obliquely. His Houston office has a sign on the door cautioning protestors not to demonstrate on private property.

And there was this tweet:

Put aside that the article Cornyn’s references in the tweet gives clear examples of the mounting evidence that Russian interference tipped the election to Trump. As a member of the Senate Intel and Judiciary committees, it is John Cornyn’s JOB to find and parse that evidence, and above all to take that evidence SERIOUSLY.

This is why we are protesting. This is why, statewide, we are rallying outside Cornyn’s offices. John Cornyn’s fecklessness on Russia and other issues has entered dangerous new territory.

It’s not just Russia. Take this tweet, sent over the weekend:

What John Cornyn calls “fake news” is data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)! If this is fake news, then there is no such thing as real news. This is so completely irresponsible of the second-most powerful person in the Senate, and he needs to hear about it, loudly and frequently.

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More Questions to ask John Cornyn

*BONUS QUESTION*

When will the Intel committee call Jared Kushner to testify?

From the Indivisible Project’s “Choose Truth over Trump on Russia”:

  1. I’m really concerned about the state of our democracy right now. The news about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia gets worse every day, and now it looks like Trump may have engaged in obstruction of justice by firing Comey. The Department of Justice has appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russia’s interference in our election, but that is not enough. We need an independent commission to get a full and more transparent airing of the facts.
    • [For Republican House Members] There is a “discharge petition” that would force a vote on the Protecting our Democracy Act (H.R.356), a bill that would establish an independent commission to investigate Russian interference. I know you also believe in protecting our democracy—this should not be a partisan issue. Will you sign on to the discharge petition?
    • [For Senators] Senator Cardin has a bill, S.27, that would establish a commission of independent experts to examine the facts regarding Russia and the 2016 election. Will you commit to co-sponsoring this bill today?
  2. With questions mounting about Trump’s ties to Russia, it is more important now than ever that we hold Donald Trump to his promise to release his tax returns. Until we see Trump’s tax returns, we cannot be certain that foreign governments don’t have leverage over the White House. Every president since Carter has released their tax returns for a simple reason: it demonstrates that they don’t have conflicts of interests. Congress has the power to get Trump’s tax returns… YOU have the power to make that happen. There is a bill called the Presidential Tax Transparency Act (for House Members, H.R. 305, for Senators, S. 26) that would require President Trump and future major party presidential nominees to release the three most recent years of their tax returns. This is a bipartisan bill in the House, with co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle. Will you commit to co-sponsoring this bill today?
    • [For House Republicans] Your party leadership is refusing to bring a vote on the Presidential Tax Transparency Act. You can force them to bring a vote on it by signing your name to Rep. Anna Eshoo’s discharge petition. Will you commit to making sure we get a vote on Trump’s taxes by signing on to Rep. Eshoo’s discharge petition?
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Former FBI Director Comey Agrees to Testify in Open Session at Senate Intel Committee

Friday, May 19, 2017
WASHINGTON –Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today announced that former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has committed to testify in open session before the Committee. The Committee will schedule the open hearing after Memorial Day.
“The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” said Senator Burr.
“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President. I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” said Senator Warner. “Director Comey served his country with honor for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story. Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.”
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Joint Statement from Senate Intel Committee Leaders on Special Counsel Appointment

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

RELEASE: Joint Statement from Senate Intel Committee Leaders on Special Counsel Appointment

WASHINGTON –Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today made the following statement on the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel:

“The appointment of former FBI Director and respected lawyer Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation is a positive development and will provide some certainty for the American people that the investigation will proceed fairly and free of political influence.

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will continue its own investigation and to the extent any deconfliction is required, we will engage with Director Mueller and our expectation is that he will engage with the Committee as well.”

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It’s going to be a long haul.

A couple of key takeaways from this excellent series of tweets by Seth Abramson:

  1. No one wants to hear it, but this investigation will take a long time. We have little historical precedent on impeachment, but plenty of large federal investigations from which to draw conclusions.
  2. One tactic on the right will be to claim that, with all the time and attention already devoted to the investigation, something would have already turned up. Don’t buy it. People are just now lawyering up. We are at the beginning, not the end, of this long road. (Also: plenty has already turned up.)

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Listen Now: Cornyn Stakeout Conference Call

Guest Speaker:

Dan Epstein, TX-19 Congressional Candidate and founder of West Texans Concerned About Vladimir Putin

Dan Epstein is a Visiting Instructor at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008. His research focuses on political parties, electoral competition, and political culture in developing countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America, with particular focus on Russia and Brazil.

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Sen. Cornyn says there are too many Russia investigations

This sounds like an excuse for the Senate to continue not doing anything, or doing things veeeeeery slowly.

And it sounds reasonable: With multiple investigations into Russia’s election meddling, the same witnesses will be called, and there could be confusion and delay. Cornyn is really good at sounding reasonable.

But let’s break it down:

  1. A foreign power undermining trust in US elections is, to put it mildly, KIND OF A BIG DEAL
  2. There were at least ten independent and Congressional investigations into Benghazi. The House committee alone had 46 full-time staff.

So… quit whining, Sen. Cornyn.

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New toolkit: “Truth or Trump”

The Indivisible Project has a new toolkit titled CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS: TRUTH OR TRUMP

Here’s a sample:

On May 9th, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Director Comey was in the process of leading the investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential elections, including possible connections to the Trump campaign. We’ll repeat that: Donald Trump fired the man charged with investigating his Administration. This is a big, flashing, red alarm sign for our democracy.

This isn’t about partisan politics. This is about the defending our most basic democratic institutions and values. Your Members of Congress (MoCs) need to decide whether they’re on the side of truth, or on the side of Trump.

  1.  The Crime: How Trump likely obstructed justice when he fired Comey
  2. The Motive: Mounting Evidence of Trump Camp’s Connections to Russia
  3. The Cover-Up: Current congressional investigations are a sham
  4. The Solution: DOJ special prosecutor is now the best of three options
  5. Your Role: What you can ask your Senators to actually do about this

Read the rest of “Truth or Trump”

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