Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Day 32: Don't expect action

On Monday I called the office of John Faso (NY-19), expecting that he wouldn’t have yet figured out what to say about Trump’s Surrender Summit in Suomi.

To my surprise, the staffer had a statement there to read to me (which I later learned was also on Faso’s website). I was so surprised, that I said I agreed 100%, but I think it was more that seeing my congressman criticize Trump as much as he did was a bit like seeing a dog talk. On reflection, the dog was only making a little sense. (Still, yay dog for talking at all, right?)

Since my call on Monday, Trump had sort of walked back his dis of U.S. intelligence in favor of Putin’s view of what happened in 2016, but not really, and then had gone ahead and full-on ignored the intelligence community’s assessment of risks for 2018.

So I thought I’d check in with Faso.
I’m calling to find out what Congressman Faso is doing to follow up on his statement from Monday regarding the president’s summit with Vladimir Putin.
I haven’t had a chance to speak with him about that. Is there a message you’d like to pass along?
There are two very specific actions that Congressman Faso should take.
First, he should work with his colleagues on closing the loophole in the Defense Authorization Act that allows the president to waive sanctions on the Russian military.
And the second?
He should vote with the rest of the House to release the president’s tax returns. Every other presidential nominee for the last 45 years has released his or her tax returns. Trump said he would do it if he was elected. We’re now 20 months past the election, and we still haven’t seen them.

The president’s behavior is consistent with someone who has financial obligations to Russia. His tax returns would help figure out whether that was true. Mr. Faso needs to vote to have them released.
I will pass that along.
And I hope he’s not falling for the retraction from yesterday, that he meant to say “wouldn’t” rather than “would,” but two things on that.
First, taken in the context of the rest of the press conference and a week in which he had just undercut long-time allies Germany and Britain, that’s simply not credible.
Second, in that same statement he finished up by reopening doubt about whether it was Russia. He said he accepted the findings of the intelligence community, and then he said something that contradicted those findings.
And today he contradicted the intelligence community on the question of whether Russia is meddling in the 2018 elections. They say Russia is, he says Russia isn’t.
Those are the actions of someone covering for Russia, not someone standing up for the U.S.
Pleasantries, and we’re done.

As always, I encourage you to call Faso’s office. If his staffers are going to accept employment with an enabler of fascism, at make them work for their blood money. The number is (202) 225-5614.

Earlier calls:

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