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What we Learned from Trump’s Ukraine Call

Trump swore it was a perfect call. He said we’d be embarrassed for making a big deal out of it. But the only embarrassment is the shame we feel at a president who is flaunting his own corruption and lawlessness. 

After releasing the official notes about his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and parts of the whistleblower’s complaint, America finally got to see how much further he’ll go to get foreign governments to help his re-election. First, let’s look at the timeline:

What are the most notable facts we’ve discovered?

Quid Pro Quo – Everyone’s focused on whether or not there was a quid pro quo – or an explicit offer to exchange US aid for dirt on Biden. Was there one? Yes, even if some of Trump’s defenders want to ignore it. What did it look like?
                Trump begins by stressing that Ukraine depends on US aid, but warns that the support isn’t “reciprocal.”
                Zelenskiy says “we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”
                Trump replies “I would like you to do us a favor though.”
That’s a quid pro quo. Zelenskiy says what he needs from the US, and Trump responds by demanding something in return.

Corruption – The ensuing conversation is a list of corrupt demands, from the removal of an ambassador Trump dislikes, to an investigation into “Joe Biden’s son.” That last demand seems to be Trump’s most urgent, as he continues to insist that Zelenskiy talk to Rudy Giuliani who publicly admits to pressing for the fake story. Trump even goes so far as to praise the fired prosecutor at the heart of the story, a prosecutor who was widely criticized for corruption and whom multiple countries and organizations demanded be fired.

Conspiracies – One of several odd demands the president made was to look into an American cybersecurity company that Trump seems to believe is owned by a Ukranian (it isn’t). The reason? Because he again falsely believes that Hillary Clinton’s emails are in a server there. It’s just another wild, fictitious conspiracy that the president wants pushed so that he can deny Russian agents hacked the DNC and discredit the facts of the Mueller Report.

Giuliani – Zelenskiy actually brings up the president’s personal attorney. Giuliani has reached out to Ukrainian officials already. Rudy has acknowledged as such, and admitted that it was to pressure the country to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden. Trump then tells Zelenskiy to continue talking to Giuliani, who has no official job in the government and no power other than what the president is willing to do at his request. This kind of back-channel is designed to avoid accountability and allow nakedly corrupt demands to be made behind the American peoples’ backs.

Timing – The call took place the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony about the Trump campaign’s corrupt foreign dealings and Trump’s personal obstruction of justice. Trump even references Mueller in the call. Clearly, he views the lack of any serious consequences for his previous crimes as a blank check to do worse in 2020, which is why we can’t let him get away with it again.

Obstruction of Justice – We know from the Mueller Report that the president has no problem obstructing justice. He certainly didn’t hesitate to do it again. The whistleblower tells us that the transcript of the president’s call was considered so politically damaging, that it was inappropriately classified at the highest level to keep it’s details hidden. What’s worse, the complaint alleges that the administration has done this with a lot of political documents, turning America’s national security institutions into a personal vault to hide criminally and politically damning information. Acting DNI Maguire himself today laid it out plainly: “there is an allegation of a cover-up.”

There’s quite a bit more to be unraveled, but the case is straightforward: The president used his power, and the power of our country, to demand a foreign government help him defeat his leading political rival, and then hid that conversation to protect himself. That is corruption, pure and simple.

No matter how long it takes for us to learn the full truth, we cannot let the president get away with his brazen corruption. Congress must pursue this and other allegations in their impeachment inquiry, reporting the facts to the American people. So far, only one party has proven willing to earnestly investigate this criminality. But every member of Congress should be concerned, and every American should take it seriously.

Stand Up Republic certainly won’t stop pursuing the truth.

You Called for an Impeachment Inquiry, It Worked

Today, the House majority announced the formal initiation of an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States. While it is deeply unfortunate that such a step is necessary, we are pleased that Congress finally appears to be rising to the responsibility it bears to uphold the Constitution and exercise oversight of the executive branch.

Stand Up Republic was one of the first national cross-partisan organizations to mobilize support for this step in response to repeated abuses of power by the President. It was a heavy decision, based on direct evidence from the Mueller Report and elsewhere of criminality, obstruction, and corruption. But even more worrisome than the President’s history of breaking the law for his own enrichment and power, was the possibility that he would engage in more and worse abuses of power if not held accountable, putting our liberty in grave danger.

That’s why we asked every Stand Up Republic member to join us in demanding that the House of Representatives take a stand for the rule of law and open an impeachment inquiry. You answered the call, flooding your representatives with phone calls and emails. Already, those efforts have paid off as several members of Congress slowly gained the courage to do their duty.

The flood gates on that slow progress burst wide open today. Just as we warned, the President took his lawless self-interest even further than before, attempting to extort a foreign government into helping his personal campaign. For the members in Congress who heard from SUR supporters, but still hesitated to act, this latest scandal finally showed them that we were right, and that the President must be held to account for his illegal and unamerican acts. 

The House majority’s announcement that a formal impeachment inquiry is now underway, is an appropriate first step in defending the rule of law and the Constitution. This is Congress’ obligation. But even in the face of wanton lawlessness, they’ve been afraid to take such a monumental step. Now they’ve heard our voices, they know what we expect of them. 

And with the President’s latest transgressions against America’s free elections and the healthy limits of presidential authority, they finally understand why we cannot wait. Stand Up Republic’s national membership was essential in conveying that message to Congress. And we will be no less vocal in shaping the impeachment inquiry and ensuring it moves ahead without bias or delay, but always in pursuit of facts, justice and liberty for all.

That, after all, is exactly what the rule of law is all about. And with your help, we will make sure Congress does its constitutional duty to the fullest.

BREAKING: McConnell Agrees to Election Security Funding

After nearly 3 years of delay, denial, and distraction, our efforts to push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to secure America’s elections has scored another victory. He announced today that he will finally allow the Senate to vote on $250 million in new election security funding.

Despite overwhelming evidence that our democracy is under assault by foreign actors, McConnell has routinely blocked efforts to protect and improve our election systems.

In the face of his obstruction, Stand Up Republic has led the fight to pressure McConnell and other Senate Republicans to act. Your phone calls, emails, and advocacy have made the Senate’s inaction untenable. This new, small step towards more secure elections is a direct result of your dedication and advocacy.

And now, with momentum on our side, the fight continues until the threats to our elections have been fully addressed. 

As it stands, McConnell continues to block bipartisan bills that would make political ads more transparent, punish foreign adversaries who attack our elections, and finally create a legal obligation for campaign officials to report foreign efforts to interfere in our campaigns.

That’s why we’re convening a delegation of Stand Up Republic members from across the nation in Washington next week. Your fellow Stand Up Republic members will get trained and equipped to make their voice heard, and then head to Capitol Hill for dozens of meetings with House and Senate offices to demand support for critical measures to secure our elections. 

Election security cannot be an afterthought and cannot be taken for granted. There’s no better way to keep it on the forefront of Congress’ minds than to hear directly from their constituents.

So even if you won’t be with us in Washington for Hill Days, we ask you to join our efforts. Call your representatives and demand they take action now to secure our elections.

McConnell’s reluctant embrace of further election security funding proves how effective we can be when we come together to demand action. But we cannot settle for half-measures or the bare minimum. So let’s keep the pressure on, until we know that our elections are safe from interference.

Statement on the North Carolina 9th District Special Election

Last night’s special election in the historically Republican 9th district of North Carolina is a sign of rapidly shifting political winds. More and more, voters are putting their partisan interests aside and voting their values first. Bishop’s narrow win in a district the president won by 12 points proves that Republicans, Independents, and Democrats are coming together in a cross-partisan coalition to stand up for unifying and accountable leadership.

Across the country, people of all backgrounds and beliefs are standing up for their freedom, changing the political landscape by putting country over party and rejecting the politics of partisanship first. Dan Bishop may have won last night’s election, but the narrow margin should put every politician on notice: Americans will not accept fraud, divisiveness, and manipulation. People are looking for leaders who will represent them, not put partisan political interests first. In the coming elections, Stand Up Republic will continue build this cross-partisan bloc of voters to demand a healthier, more accountable politics in America.

Help End the Abuse of Emergency Powers

Throughout his presidency, Trump has continually threatened to expand his power, declaring national emergencies and ignoring constitutional limitations.

Last week alone, Trump made a stunning Twitter declaration that American companies are “hereby ordered” to find alternatives to China, and reportedly promised preemptive pardons for anyone willing to break the law in order to build his wall at the southern border.

Now, the Department of Defense has begun diverting funds away from their congressionally approved construction programs, sacrificing military needs for Trump’s pet political project.

How does Trump justify his abuses of power? By citing The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) of 1977, which authorizes a president to regulate international commerce in the event of a national emergency. Laws like IEEPA, enacted since the 1970s, effectively give the executive branch powers that constitutionally belong to the legislature, in order to respond to immediate emergencies.

But Trump is stretching these powers beyond what the laws and the constitution ever envisioned, declaring anything an emergency in order to seize more power. He is circumventing the legislative branch by reallocating funds without congressional approval, and despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly refused to give him the full funding he demanded.

It’s hardly the first time he’s invented emergencies that only he could solve with authoritarian zeal. But there’s a larger issue: this president thinks he is all-powerful, and Congress continues to surrender its power to the executive, sacrificing its ability to check this or future presidents that may abuse their power.

If Congress doesn’t protect its constitutional authorities and the balance of power, America may realize the founders’ greatest fear: an unaccountable and unstoppable executive.

That’s why Stand Up Republic is working with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to reform national emergency powers and reclaim Congress’ constitutional authority. For the sake of our country, we must rebalance the powers of government, reinforcing the separation of powers and checks and balances, as our founders intended.

We cannot let partisan interests or petty in-fighting stand in the way of strengthening the guardrails of our republic. These reforms are essential in protecting the balance of powers which give citizens control over our government. If Congress doesn’t take action now, this president and any successor – of either party – would feel empowered to override Congress and the people to pursue their own personal agendas.

No one person should ever have that power in America. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that our power as citizens is preserved, by strengthening that of our representatives in Congress, who remain most accountable to us.