Letter 43 (and Russia)

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Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)

317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2541

—-

This letter doesn’t focus on Russia, but the news cycle is, and I want to give some context and information on it for your reference.

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California 15th District) has been doing the homework that MUST be done about President Trump’s ties to Russia. It’s a theme that runs through a lot of these letters, and some very brave and very inspirational journalists and politicians are working hard to connect the dots between Administration officials and their Russian counterparts. Representative Swalwell has put together a website that pulls and analyzes all of the information that’s publicly available that links all of the different ways in which President Trump has an unusually close relationship to Russia. We need to push our Congresspeople to investigate these ties that essentially betray a quid pro quo agreement between our two countries that compromises our democracy, our institutions, and benefits the whims, economy, and political deviance of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Known for quashing protestors and suppressing free speech, enacting extremely harsh anti-LGBTQ laws, promoting anti-American language, invading Ukraine, and overall just being a general shady person, Putin (who is synonymous with the Russian state itself) is someone to be negotiated and dealt with in a careful manner. This is not a relationship to play around with, and it is shocking that so few Congresspeople and agencies want to touch this disturbing complicity that ultimately favors Russia over us. Masha Gessen has written extensively on Russian-American relations, as well as Vladimir Putin specifically. And, luckily, dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza is alive and doing well.

I’m going to start pressuring them more in my letters. Our Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has explicit ties to Russia which involve hundreds of millions of dollars during his tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil. Lifting sanctions against Russia, which the Administration has flip-flopped on and been intentionally vague about, would benefit Putin enormously, and the major conflict of interest here is staggering. This is not the only one, but it is one of the bigger ones. Journalists are risking their livelihoods (and lives) to report this information, like Christopher Steele, and now more than ever we need to invest in our (local and national) newspapers and encourage more on-the-ground reporting.

I wrote a postcard to thank Representative Swalwell for his efforts to bring to light the unnerving events occurring right now:

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Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California 15th District)

129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5065

“So far it is us as American citizens and it is us in the press who are connecting the dots on this story [Russia and Trump’s election collusion] and figuring this out. Do we have any reason to believe that any government official investigation into this scandal is doing the same? Honestly, it’s a DOJ controlled by a Trump campaign official or it’s two intelligence committees each controlled by a Trump campaign official. Support a free press, it is really starting to feel like we’re going to have to do this ourselves.” 

-Rachel Maddow

Photo: Natural Bridge, Virginia

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