May 17, 2017

Amid Trump Bombshells, Independent Investigation Is Needed

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

In a week of tests to our democracy, the bombshells keep coming. The latest shocker is The New York Times report that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the federal investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. We must hear publicly from Comey on the matter, and encourage Members to bring him to testify before Congress.

This revelation comes on the heels of the firing of Comey, the Twitter threats of tape-recorded conversations, the odd certified letter from Trump’s lawyers claiming that Trump was free from Russia ties and, of course, the likely leaking of sensitive classified information. Concerns about national security, the sanctity of our laws and the integrity of our democracy continue to grow as we reel from these grenades. 

Without prejudging the results, at Public Citizen, we have deepened our call for a new independent investigation into the potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign via a special prosecutor and an independent investigative commission. We do not presume that there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, but we’re certain that, after the president’s recent actions, the country needs a full-funded, independent investigation to understand what, if anything happened, and to have confidence in the investigative conclusion.

We also have strengthened our push to finally see Trump’s tax returns, which will shed light on any Russian financial interests or debts the president maintains or has held, and enable Americans to understand the breadth of his financial conflicts and foreign entanglements.

Today, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, filed a discharge petition to bring the Protecting Our Democracy Act (HR 356) to the floor. The bill has 199 co-sponsors, two of whom are Republicans, and would create an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. The concept deserves deeper bipartisan support. In this crisis of democracy, we urge all members to put their country before their party and sign the discharge petition for a commission to begin to shield us from more Trump bombshells.

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