Tuesday July 17 2018

Updated 3pm Wednesday. 7/17/18 notes from visiting WA’s senators’ staffers. Rally vid: 43:17.
7/10/18: notes. FAQs & Archive. Online info about our senators.
By Holly Brewer, Loren Bast and Janet Kierstead.

The Rally: Trump’s Dangerous Love Affair with Russia

On the way to the rally, there was writing on the ground outside the ICE office (a block away). There are protests there 8-10am every weekday:

Rally vid: 43:17

Main Takeaway

The main takeaway from today was that we want to feel safe, and we want our senators to take a strong stance – and announce that we are not in normal times. We want them to say that we are in a Constitutional crisis. We also want them to represent us by writing bills – even if it is unlikely that they get through. We need their strong actions and words so that that people perceive them as having teeth – so that we win in the midterms.

In addition, we want Democrats to appear together en masse for the press regularly – maybe every day – to highlight how this is not normal, and we need to protect our democracy. It is tough to get press coverage – the press is more interested in Trump’s controversies.

Interestingly, the link that was just made between the NRA and Russia threw people off. Butina, a Russian who is promoting the NRA in the US has relationships with this administration that are under legal investigation: ABCNews.com The NRA is a fruitful organization in dividing people in the US – more than any other issue. It is important that we unite people – by appealing to the military and law enforcement. We need to engage our patriots.


The Situation

The 2016 election that brought us our 45th president was hacked. In Illinois, the worst proven case of this, half a million voters’ records were accessed: KWQC.com. In addition, 39 states’ voter databases and other systems were hacked: NYDailyNews.com

The Director of the CIA, Pompeo says that Russia will target the midterms: BBC.com
The Secretary of State, Tillerson warns US is vulnerable to Russian meddling ahead of midterms: CNN.com
“Jeff Sessions Admits He Has No Idea What DOJ Is Doing To Prevent Election Hacking”: HuffPost.com

Elections are run by states, counties and municipalities. This is set by the Constitution, Article 1, Section 4: Law.Cornell.edu. Our voter roles were hacked: WaPo.com. In WA, we have paper ballots. Our weakness is that we do not do audits after elections. Washington State’s election security: SOS.WA.gov

Our voter information was requested by the administration last year. Our Secretary of State only shared publicly available information: PBS.org

How to Defend Elections

Reports on election security in all 50 states – AmericanProgress.org & NASS.org & Harvard Kennedy Belfer Center


Sens. Murray and Cantwell have cosponsored bills on cybersecurity. The most notable bill is S.27, which was heavily promoted by Indivisible. It has 28 Democrat cosponsors. Sen. Murray has cosponsored related bills. GovTrack.us Sen. Cantwell has cosponsored related bills. GovTrack.us

Calls for a Watchdog

Sen. Cantwell has called for a watchdog to look into cybersecurity. Energy.Senate.gov

Sen. Cantwell Got Money to Fix Systems

Sen. Cantwell got $380 million in the omnibus bill to fix voting systems. NPR.org

Sen. Cantwell’s tweet

It’s Not Enough

Because of how the funds will be allocated, “only two of the 13 states that use machines that lack an auditable paper trail — Arkansas and Delaware — could receive enough money to fully replace them. Most of the states are expected to receive less than 60 percent of what it would cost to fully replace the paperless systems currently in use”. NPR.org

Sen. Cantwell is on the Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee, and so this is an area that she should focus on.

45 and Putin

Please sign Sen. Murray’s petition about this: MurraySenate.CP.BSD.net.
45 met with Putin in Helsinki and they spent two hours together. 45 accepted Putin’s statement that they had not hacked the 2016 election, and dismissed our security service’s information that we have been hacked by Russian officials. CNN.com

90% of Republicans Support 45; Republican Numbers are Shrinking

Trump embarrassed the nation on the world stage this week at the Helsinki summit, where he supported dictator Vladimir Putin’s word on 2016’s election interference over the word of all his intelligence agencies. Politicians and pundits from both parties denounced Trump’s performance, many calling him a traitor to the country. However, it’s unclear what Trump’s latest debacle will do to his support among Republicans overall. Prior to Helsinki, Trump was very popular among Republican voters, as reported by BusinessInsider.com; and in a poll – conducted in June and reported by News.Gallup.com – right after his summit with North Korea, his approval rating climbed to 90% . Now, the caveat to this positive polling is that those identifying as “Republican” is shrinking significantly. Brookings.edu

Senators Sent a Letter to Trump

We want our senators to join other senators in pushing the agenda described in the following terms by TheHill.com: ‘Democrats want Trump to detail all topics discussing during the meeting, including any “suggestions” Trump made to Putin.
They also want to know about any talk on changing international security agreements, if Trump made any commitments tied to the United States’ presence in Syria or military exercises for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).’

Our Senators’ Statements

Sen. Murray: ‘“It was truly horrifying and deeply alarming to see the President of the United States stand with the President of Russia in undercutting the work of our intelligence agencies and law enforcement and blaming America for the attacks on our elections and our democracy,” she said in news release.
Trump failed to push Putin to end his attacks on the elections and defended him “on all fronts,” Murray said. “This is appalling and inexcusable.”’: Spokesman.com

Sen. Cantwell’s tweet

Sen. Cantwell: ‘On Twitter, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Putin again denied Russian interference and Trump again refused to call him out.
“Free and fair elections (are) the bedrock of our democracy and they must be fiercely defended,” Cantwell said in a tweet. “The president should have addressed this issue today.”’ Spokesman.com.

Other MoC’s Statements

Sen. Schumer told Trump to cancel the meeting: TheHill.com and then asked for notes from their one-on-one meeting: NationalReview.com. He also said “Americans ‘will wonder’ if Putin has dirt on Trump”: Politico.com, and “demands public hearing on what Trump ‘might have committed’ to Putin” : TheHill.com.

Rep. Smith (D-WA): “Hard to see Trump’s summit conduct ‘as anything other than treason.’” SeattleTimes.com

Sen. McCain (R-AZ): ‘“He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.”’ Politico.com
McCain is totally unlikely to return to DC. His cancer and age are hampering his abilities. PressReader.com
He cannot vote by proxy: so his vote is no longer a factor in the Senate.

Sen. Sasse (R-NE): said his appearance next to Putin “was a disaster.” CBSNews.com He didn’t endorse 45 as president: Wikipedia.org

Sen. Flake (R-AZ): assessment of Trump’s summit was that it was “shameful.” ABCNews.Go.com. Earlier this year, Flake condemned Trump’s behavior on the Senate floor. CNN.com

Kavanaugh’s Nomination

Kavanaugh is nominated by 45 to become Superior Court Justice. He would be the youngest in the Superior Court, and his vote could affect the implementation of legislation for 40 years. The Republicans have the majority, and so we have no power in this without Republicans voting against him. References for his voting and opinions are found in various places: for opinions, SupremeCourt.gov; for voting records, FiveThirtyEight.com; voting records, emails and actions, the Bush Library. CNN.com

Planned Parenthood’s action on this is described at WeArePlannedParenthood.org.

If he gets in, he could tip the votes to pardon 45 for all kinds of treasonous acts.

Female Senators and Pro-Choice Organizations Held a Press Conference

7/12/18 “Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Tina Smith (D-MN), held a press conference with experts and activists from Planned Parenthood” (and others): HELP.Senate.gov.

The 2006 Votes for Kavanaugh

Both senators voted against Kavanaugh for United States Circuit Judge for the DC Circuit in 2006. Sen. Collins and Sen. Murkowski voted for him. GovTrack.us. He was voted in by a 57/36 margin. 4 Democrats voted for him: Thomas Carper, DE; Mary Landrieu, LA; Robert Byrd, WV; and Ben Nelson, NE.

Sen. Murray’s Stance

7/6/18: In the weekly Democratic address, we are urged to “Tweet, post, march, call, and write to your elected officials (emphasis mine). The more you make your voice heard, the harder it will be for Senate Republicans to support a justice who will take our country backward.” For more, see Murray.Senate.gov.

7/9/18: “…based on everything I know about [Judge Kavanaugh], he is exactly what President Trump is looking for and would swing the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation against women, workers, patients, and families.” For more, see Murray.Senate.gov.

“I’m urging everyone—in red states and blue states, big cities and small towns—to make their voice heard right now: call your Senator, show up at rallies, organize online and in person (emphasis mine). There is so much at stake.” Q13Fox.com

7/10/18: “Senator Murray also highlighted threats to workers, environmental protections, LGBTQ equality, and more posed by Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.” For more, see Murray.Senate.gov

Sen. Cantwell’s Stance

“I have grave concerns about this nomination and Judge Kavanaugh’s previous decisions on net neutrality and health care.” Q13Fox.com

On Meet the Press

Senator Cantwell Discusses U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy on Meet the Press. View this on YouTube.com.

From the video:
* About the Federalist Society, who pick the list of potential choices for 45’s Supreme Court nominee, see FedSoc.org.
* Sen. Cantwell says that she would prefer that the vote takes place after the midterms, but 45 has made it clear that he wants the vote to happen quickly.
* The Democrats changed the number of votes for a Senate approval of executive and judicial nominees to 51 (from 60) in 2013. USAToday.com
* (at 4.20 in the video) Sen. Cantwell says that it is key that she has the opportunity to ask Kavanaugh about how he will act if the president pardons himself; how he will implement the emoluments clause (about that: WaPO.com); how he will allow the Mueller investigation to go; and if the president is under indictment, what he, the nominee, will do about that.

If Sen. Cantwell strongly opposes Kavanaugh, it could help to sway Sen. Collins and Murkowski, whose statements are tepid, according to Politico.com.

If she waits to decide until she has had the opportunity to interview with him, she is following our democratic norms – a good precedent – and she also has the opportunity to open questions for him to answer publicly. If she just says that she will vote against him, she loses that ability to interview him.

Trump Slamming European Immigrants

“Trump Says Europe Is ‘Losing’ Its Culture Because Of Immigration.” HuffPo.com We are horrified. This is unacceptable. Most immigrants in Europe come from war-torn regions in northern Africa or Syria.