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Calls For Independent Investigation Of Trump and Russia Rise In Congress

Yesterday, one of Donald Trump’s main lines of defense against a genuine investigation into his involvement with Russian attacks against the United States in 2016 fell apart. Devin Nunes, the chair of the Russia-Trump investigation in the House of Representatives, had made a whitewash it all, working with the Trump White House to undermine the investigation at every turn. Yesterday, after weeks of insisting that he had done nothing wrong, Nunes became the target of an congressional ethics investigation, and was forced to step down from the investigation, recusing himself from any further involvement in it.

Despite the departure of Nunes, the House investigation into Donald Trump’s collaboration with Russia in attacks against the USA has very low credibility. That’s because the investigation remains a partisan operation controlled by pro-Trump Republicans. Nunes is gone, but hyper-partisan Republicans Mike Conaway and Trey Gowdy are taking over the reins.

That’s why several members of Congress took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to demand the creation of an independent investigation to determine the extent to which Donald Trump was involved in Russia’s attacks against America last year. Here’s what they had to say:

U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin – “Last week 75,000 people marched in Russia against corruption and human rights violations. We should be on the side of the Russian people who are trying to liberate themselves from human rights violations and murder and political corruption in their country. We need an independent investigation of the political, financial, military, and diplomatic invasion of America with this Russian connection. We need to restore our moral leadership in the world as the champion of human rights.”

U.S. Representative Don Beyer – “I rise today to express my constituents’ demand for an independent investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal.
Since mid-November, this has been a major issue for the people I represent, who are deeply concerned about protecting democratic elections. Among their concerns are the following: Changes last July to the Republican Party’s platform that are beneficial to Russia, which the Trump campaign spearheaded. A few days later, Trump’s call on Russia to launch a cyber attack against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump’s refusal to say anything negative about Vladimir Putin, such as his terrible record on human rights or his crackdown on dissent. The intelligence community’s consensus that Putin directed a campaign of weaponized information against Hillary Clinton. And the implication of numerous Trump advisers in unseemly relations with Russia, including Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and Carter Page. Mr. Speaker, my constituents have watched as the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation lapsed into confusion and obfuscation, obviously at the behest of the White House. Last month, that committee canceled public hearings which would have included the testimony of former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. My constituents have watched President Trump, whose Presidential campaign is under FBI investigation, alternate between protestations that ‘Trump-Russia is a hoax’ and repeated attempts to change the subject.”

U.S. John Garamendi – “I remember well the investigations that Congress undertook in the Nixon period — the Watergate investigations. Frankly, I am appalled at the way in which this House is conducting its investigations. It is high time that we have an independent investigation.”

U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez – “This week we learned one of the President’s informal advisers — a mercenary who founded the company Blackwater—met secretly with a Putin representative and attempted to establish back-channel conversations between the Trump administration and Russia. Remember, this comes after we found out the President’s son-in-law met with Russian banking officials. It comes after it was reported that the Attorney General likely perjured himself before Congress about his own meeting with Russians. Sadly, it comes after there were chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Let us recall that Assad’s closest ally in that horrific civil war has been — you guessed it – Russia. It is imperative we unearth all of the links between this administration, Russia, and Russia’s hacking of our election. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation has become a farce. We need a thorough, independent investigation. Appoint a special counsel now.”

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