Investigate Trump Administration’s Ties with Russia

Michael Flynn, the disgraced former National Security Advisor to the Trump Administration, resigned after it was discovered that he illegally contacted Russian officials prior to President Trump’s inauguration. In these conversations, Flynn discussed sanctions levied by President Obama against the country due to its involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the action, making clear the sanctions would come under review after the inauguration. 

Through these conversations, a non-elected official (appointed by a President-elect who had yet to take office) violated the Logan Act of 1799, which prohibits unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that the US is engaged in disputes with. Most troubling of all, the White House knew about Flynn’s illegal communications with Russian officials for at least two weeks and did nothing about it. Flynn resigned only after the information became public through extensive reporting from major news outlets. 

Not only did Flynn act illegally, but his relations with Russia continue to reveal a troubling relationship between the Trump Administration and Russia. In fact, reports have now surfaced that a number of Trump’s aides had contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign. This is a matter of national security that must be fully investigated by Congress.

SAMPLE DIALOGUE

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! Can you please let me know the Senator’s/ Representative’s views on Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor for inappropriately communicating with Russian officials before Trump took office?

OPTION 1: SUPPORTS FLYNN’S RESIGNATION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator/Representative Bob believes Michael Flynn acted inappropriately in privately discussing US sanctions against Russia with foreign officials. He is glad that Flynn has resigned his post.

    Caller: That’s great to hear. I’m calling to say that I truly believe Flynn’s actions are in violation of US law under the Logan Act. Given the unprecedented level of Russian interference in our elections and domestic affairs, I believe a full investigation is necessary. If the Senator/Representative believes, as I do, that Michael Flynn’s conversations were inappropriate, he should support a congressional investigation into the ties between Russia, Michael Flynn, and other Trump officials — including those campaign aides who spoke with Russian intelligence officials before the election. Will the Senator/Representative commit to fully investigating Flynn’s and the White House’s ties to the Russian government and support Representative Darrell Issa’s call for an independent special prosecutor for the investigation?

OPTION 2: OPPOSES FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF  FLYNN’S DISCUSSIONS WITH RUSSIA

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator/Representative Bob believes Flynn acted inappropriately and he is glad that he has resigned. Now, we should move on and get back to solving more pressing issues that matter to Americans.

    Caller: That’s terrible! The Russian government interfered in our elections and in our domestic affairs—what Senator/Representative Bob is saying is that he does not think this deserves additional investigation. These conversations were reckless and endangered US diplomatic relations with Russia and our interests abroad. The Department of Justice warned the White House two weeks before he resigned of the potential for Russian blackmail, and yet the White House did nothing about it. And now there are reports that Trump campaign aides spoke with Russian intelligence officials before the election. We must root out all inappropriate relationships between the Russian government and Trump officials. This is a matter of national security and it requires a full and exhaustive investigation.

    Staffer: But there is no evidence of any other connection between Russia and the White House. 

    Caller: That’s wrong. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian intelligence officials before the election. We don’t know more details because Congress has yet to conduct a full investigation. We know that Flynn discussed the removal of the sanctions before the inauguration of Donald Trump, but we don’t know if he was the only person having these types of conversations. We also don’t know whether he or anyone else was blackmailed by the Russian government. In fact, we still don’t even know if Donald Trump himself is vulnerable to Russian influence since we haven’t seen his tax returns. Does Senator/Representative Bob support the Russian interference in American affairs? Will he/she commit to supporting a full investigation led by an independent special prosecutor as suggested by Representative Darrell Issa, a senior Republican member of both the House Committee on the Judiciary and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform?  

OPTION 3: DODGES / HAS NO POSITION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling. I have no idea the Senator/Representative’s position on Flynn’s resignation.

    Caller: That’s disappointing to hear—this is a very important issue for millions of Americans who are increasingly worried about the Trump Administration’s relationship with Russia before and after the election, as well as prior to his inauguration. The White House knew about Flynn’s inappropriate communications with Russian officials for two weeks but did nothing about it. The Trump Administration is setting a dangerous precedent when it comes to national security and foreign policy. Did you know that the Department of Justice warned the White House that Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government?

    Staffer: I did not know that, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

    Caller: My concerns are these: We need to conduct a full investigation into the relationship between Michael Flynn and the Russian government to root out any other possible interference on the part of the Russian government. Reports that Trump campaign aides had contact with Russian intelligence before the election are troubling, to say the least. I expect Senator/Representative Bob will represent his constituents like me and support an investigation into this matter. I expect Senator/Representative Bob to do two things to prove that he is on my side here:

    1. Support a full and exhaustive congressional investigation of the matter.

    2. Join Representative Darrell Issa in calling for an independent special prosecutor in the investigation.

    Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Senator/Representative.

    Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when the Senator/Representative has made up his mind. I’m eager to hear what he decides.
ScriptsCaroline Kavit