On September 5th, Stand Up Republic joined with multiple pro-democracy and government ethics organizations urging Congress to pass House Resolution 1043. That resolution would change House rules to prohibit members and officers of Congress from serving on corporate boards.
In the wake of recent insider trading indictments against Congressman Collins, it is clear that something must be done to prevent conflicts of interest and corruption. Stand Up Republic is proud to support this important reform measure and we urge Congress to act now.
It’s been more than two years since we got the first signs that a foreign government was engaged in a sprawling hacking and disinformation attack against America. We now know, beyond any doubt, that those attacks were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. We have proof that Kremlin agents were even here in America orchestrating efforts to influence our elections. Why would they do this? To dictators like Putin, America’s commitment to freedom and liberty and thus free and fair elections is a threat to his despotic power.
What’s more, we know that those attacks continue to this day, and are only becoming more sophisticated. The problem is, nothing is being done to really make Moscow feel the consequences of its actions. The president has routinely watered down, delayed, or even ignored the sanctions that Congress enacted. And even as the attacks raged on against our country, Trump stood up next to our assailant to praise and defend Vladimir Putin.
Praising the man who’s actively working to weaken and divide us…
That’s not leadership. That’s a national security crisis.
Fortunately, in America, our power doesn’t begin or end with the president. Congress has the power — and the duty — to act and force the president’s hand. Already, there’s a bipartisan bill in the Senate which would enact strong and unyielding sanctions against those who attack us. This bill, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, is our best chance to defend ourselves by enacting real consequences for our foes; consequences so strong, that Putin and any other possible adversary won’t be willing to risk such attacks in the future. Deterrence is our best hope for ending the continual assaults on our sovereignty. Congress has a duty to make sure we’re safe from all attacks, no matter how the president feels about the people attacking us. That’s why we’re asking to you join us in supporting S. 3336, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act.
Read more about the bill below:
S.3336, or the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018, is currently sponsored by Senator Graham and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators: Menendez, Cardin, Shaheen, Gardner, and the late Senator McCain.
This legislation strengthens both Congress’ role defending alliances like NATO as well as its firm stance against Russian interference in America’s elections. The bill, if passed, would require a two-thirds majority from the Senate to withdraw from NATO.
Specifically, some of the more potent actions against Moscow include, but are not limited to: punishing Russia for chemical weapons production and use, requiring the Secretary of State to determine if Russia meets criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, establishing an Office of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the State Department, establishing interference in American elections as grounds for inadmissibility under federal immigration law, establishing federal charges for hacking a voting system under the Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act, and a slew of sanctions on key Russian economic sectors and individuals engaged in corrupt or malicious activity.
Why this is necessary:
The current political environment has deferred too much Congressional authority to the Oval Office. This bill would reassert Congress’ constitutional powers and provide a much needed check on the executive branch’s inaction. By strengthening our commitment to NATO, an alliance which Putin seeks to destroy, and applying economic pressure to the Kremlin, this bill will fill the void of inaction left by a president who refuses to act. Safeguarding the international world order that has brought great peace and global prosperity is imperative — and it seems this responsibility now rests on Congress’ shoulders.
Furthermore, this legislation takes an unequivocal stance that Kremlin interference in one of the most essential aspects of America’s democratic republic — free and fair elections — will not be tolerated, but will be met with harsh repercussions. This bill implements sanctions and punishment immediately, rather than waiting for future election interference. As such it is the only bill that provides immediate repercussions for Moscow’s attacks, combatting any ongoing cyber-operations and deterring future attacks from Putin and other adversaries. It is the only way to protect our free and fair elections.
The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act not only imposes highly targeted and withering sanctions, it reinforces America’s commitment to organizations which Putin seeks to disband and states unequivocally that the Russian government is an adversary of the United States, and of liberty around the world.
With more and more revelations calling into question the president’s insistence that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russian operatives, the president’s lawyers are now resorting to the bizarre argument that collusion simply isn’t a crime. It seems to be the last refuge for the embattled administration at this point, but does it even make sense?
Working with Protect Democracy, we dove into the details to explain why it would be a crime to collude with a foreign power to win an election. And just as importantly, why it would be a betrayal of our fundamental American values and a stunning breach of the public trust.
At this point it’s a well established fact that Russia has undertaken a campaign to undermine democracy everywhere, including the US, using a variety of tools and techniques. We may not be at the height of the Cold War anymore, and we may not even envision this rivalry in the same ideological terms we once did, but Putin continues to see the United States and the tradition of freedom and democracy as threats to Russian interests. This idea drives Putin’s foreign policy, and thus recapturing this status is not seen as merely a symbol of national pride, but also as a vital security interest. Any democratic impulse is therefore seen as a threat to this interest, and must be dismantled for Russia to regain its stature in the international community.
In the postwar era we have established a number of structures to avoid all-out war, but Russia has become a master of pursuing its goals through less kinetic forms of warfare, such as political warfare, cyber and information campaigns, and a variety of gray-area tactics. Especially when facing its most powerful adversaries, such as the US, Russia opts for tactics that sow discord, distrust, and chaos. It seeks to erode our confidence in the ideas of liberty and equality from which our nation derives its strength. Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election brought this issue to the forefront of our national consciousness and caught many by surprise, but it was far from their first bid to weaken and divide America. Several similar efforts took place prior to this one, almost certainly to test the waters before they embarked on such a significant operation.
The 2015 Jade Helm conspiracy is one such example of Russian interference that preceded — and likely directly contributed to — their decision to meddle in the 2016 election. A military training exercise took the internet by storm when a number of conspiracies spread that it was a cover for something far more sinister. The actual conspiracy theories varied. Some believed it was an Obama plot to implement martial law, or take people’s guns, or imprison political opponents. Some theories even speculated the involvement of Blue Bell ice cream trucks or Walmart military bases. Notably, as these stories began to spread, so too did a parallel conspiracy that Russia was coming to the aid of Texas rebels to prepare them for an impending civil war. Concern over the training exercise became so widespread that Governor Abbott responded by sending a letter to the Texas State Guard telling them to “monitor the situation”.
A recent interview of former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden revealed that this irrational paranoia didn’t arise organically, but was actually a test case using Russian bots and alt-right media to see if information campaigns like these could work. According to Hayden, Governor Abbott’s letter to the State Guard legitimized the conspiracy both domestically and in the minds of Russian intelligence officials. In Hayden’s analysis, this signalled the success that these types of operations could achieve at the highest levels of US government, and likely gave them the confidence to employ similar tactics in our elections. Jade Helm is just one example in a long history of Russian attempts to divide Americans and incite turmoil, but this case demonstrated that their operations could create such a high level of panic that they could influence elected US officials.
This was hardly an isolated event. In keeping with their goal of driving a wedge in American society, previous Russian operations promoted secessionist movements by stoking xenophobia, nativism, and white nationalism. They harnessed these past initiatives to amplify Jade Helm and target the audience most likely to be influenced by the conspiracy. They also utilized social media bots to fuel the stories, while conspiracy sites like Alex Jones’ InfoWars immediately jumped on the opportunity to push the false narrative of a coming civil war. A letter from a supposed Texas Ranger to the Common Sense Show also spread the rumor that trains with shackles were going to be used to transport prisoners. In the end, Russia enjoyed substantial support from alt-right media sources in promoting a conspiracy that had no basis in reality.
It’s certainly difficult to trace Russian disinformation efforts as a whole back to a single event, but in this case we have a former intelligence chief making the analysis that Jade Helm directly led to the Russian effort to influence our elections at the highest level. It can often be easy to dismiss the issue of fake news and conspiracies as minor problems that don’t play a significant role in our society, but the Jade Helm case is strong evidence to the contrary. It highlights the potential dangers of our information consumption and the precautions we must take before posting anything online. In the short term, we may inadvertently cause warrantless panic and instability, and in the long term we may contribute to a myriad of unintended consequences, and perhaps even embolden our enemies.
For months we’ve warned of increased threats to the independence of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s attacks on our democracy and potential Trump campaign involvement. President Trump has made it clear that he wants to stop the investigation, and his desperation grows as it involves his business partners, campaign staff and family. That’s why we’ve continually asked for your help to urge Congress to pass institutional protections for the Special Counsel.
Thousands of you have answered that call by signing petitions, contacting your members’ offices and showing up at townhall meetings to protect Mueller. In part thanks to your efforts, Republicans in Congress who have been reluctant to cross the President have expressed their support for Mueller, and now legislation to protect him is finally moving in the Senate.
Proving that this investigation is far from over, on Monday FBI agents in New York who were referred potential evidence from Mueller’s team raided Trump’s personal lawyer’s office. Seizing information from the lawyer to the president is no small matter: to receive the warrants to do so, the FBI required credible evidence of a crime. As expected, the warranted law enforcement action brought significant outrage from the President and resulted in reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is in the president’s crosshairs. The President could fire Sessions or Rosenstein at any point.
That’s why we must keep our efforts going. Yesterday, we delivered more than 22,000 signed petitions to the U.S. Capitol demanding that Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell act now to protect the Special Counsel. I wouldn’t say that our message was exactly “welcomed” on the Hill. Lugging boxes of petitions through security proved to be a challenge. And when we arrived at Speaker Ryan’s office, we found the door locked. Ryan’s office refused to accept our petitions and turned us away. Not to be deterred, we carried your petitions to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office, where they graciously accepted them. But at the end of the day, we delivered your message to both the House and Senate leadership.
Pressure on Congress works, and we need you to stay in this fight. Call your senators and representative every day to demand that they support legislation to protect the Mueller investigation (The capitol switchboard number is: (202) 224–3121). Already, Senators Graham, Coons, Tillis, and Booker are working on a compromise bill to do just that. They need our support, and the rest of Congress needs our pressure to do the right thing.
So, thank you for signing our petition to protect Mueller. Your dedication to our democratic ideals and institutions is not in vain, and the fight is not over. If you missed the chance, the first time, you can still add your name here: https://standuprepublic.com/petitions/protect/. And please, call your members of Congress today to demand they stand up for the rule of law.
With the two major political parties moving toward ideological extremes and embracing populist rhetoric and demagoguery, Stand Up Republic unites Americans across the political spectrum around the ideals of liberty, equality and truth. The future of America depends on defending the democratic norms, ideals and institutions that have sustained our progress for nearly 250 years such as freedom of speech, the press and religion, rule of law and separation of powers.
While we as a nation hold our leaders accountable to basic Constitutional principles, we must also work to address new challenges to our individual and collective prosperity such as technology-driven disruption to the way we work, live and relate to each other. Stand Up Republic, along with Stand Up Ideas, puts country over party to identify solutions and facilitate the conversations necessary to sustaining the health and prosperity of America. We must address looming threats to American democracy with reason and resolve rather than enable demagogues to exploit cultural anxieties and divide the country.
The communications team is an essential component of the larger Stand Up Republic effort to promote America’s democratic norms, ideals, and institutions. We work not only to promote our own materials and viewpoints, but to amplify important voices and news relevant to our priorities. The communications intern will be a valued member of the team, whom we expect to be as committed to substantive work in democracy promotion as they are to learning the trade of communications. This position is located in Washington, DC.
Our Communications Intern May Be Required To:
Research stories and articles relevant to SUR/SUI mission
Aid in drafting social media posts and planning social campaigns
Provide editorial support for internal and external products
Provide design feedback for visual elements
Draft language for press releases, blog posts, or other written copy
Other duties as assigned
Academic work in the field of communication and/or political sciences
Demonstrated skill in writing and editing
Commitment to SUR’s organizational ideals
Please send a resume, cover letter, and one short writing sample to: Jobs@StandUpRepublic.com with subject line: SUMMER COMMUNICATIONS INTERN.
As Mueller’s investigation moves closer to Trump’s business dealings and campaign, the President will stop at nothing to sabotage the Special Counsel’s work. Trump falsely claims his moves are “good for democracy” even while making it clear he has a vendetta against the DOJ and the FBI.
We must act now. And we have an opportunity — today — to get Republicans to protect Mueller’s investigation.
This week, Congress will attempt to pass a $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill to continue to fund the government. Because the omnibus bill is the only way Congress can fully fund the government, it’s the best vehicle to force a vote on protecting the Mueller investigation. Already, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has said this is the best opportunity to protect Mueller and ensure that he and his team finish their important work.
Let’s keep the pressure up.
1.) Call your Representative:
2.) Call your 2 Senators:
3.) Call a friend and ask them to do the same.
We must keep the pressure up until enough of our representatives have signed onto this crucial legislation. We don’t know what Robert Mueller and his team have found or will find. What we do know is that his investigation must continue without interference. Tell Congress that they have an obligation to ensure the independence and integrity of the Mueller Investigation, because truth still matters.
Tonight, President Donald Trump eliminated any doubt as to his eager support for Devin Nunes’ misinformation campaign intended to discredit investigations into the president’s ties to Moscow. In refusing to release the Democratic Intelligence Committee memo, despite unanimous support by the Intel Committee GOP, he has shown that the entire exercise is a farce designed to mislead, distract, and undermine the investigations. While he cites national security and information security as his justification, it couldn’t be clearer that he is using secrecy to protect his assaults on the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Special Counsel. This is just the latest step in an ongoing effort by the president, Chairman Devin Nunes, and other members of Congress to turn the House Intelligence Committee into his personal protection racket.
The president lacks the credibility to merit the benefit of the doubt in his treatment of the Mueller investigation. His repeated deceptions and political attacks prove that he is acting in bad faith. Sadly, it’s become obvious that the president does not wish to uncover the truth behind Moscow’s ongoing information warfare against the American people. Instead, he’s intent on obfuscating the truth with misleading information and one-sided memos as he continues to benefit from the confusion and division he and his lackeys create.
The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release this memo and the information it contained to the American people. If they are honest in their claims to want transparency, Paul Ryan and House Republicans will take immediate action to authorize the release of the memo over the president’s objections. While they’re at it, they must prove their commitment to combating Putin’s information warfare campaign against our country by passing legislation to further protect the Mueller investigation and conduct bipartisan inquiries into the Russian government’s election meddling and connections to the Trump campaign. Our national security depends on it.
After weeks of hype and hyperbole on the Nunes Memo, what we got was a lot of sizzle, no steak. But the PR blitz by Nunes, the Administration, and other GOP leaders is trying to sell a partisan and misleading memo. Arm yourself with some facts and key points, courtesy of Stand Up Republic.
Maybe they believe that, but after a year of Trump warring against those investigating him, they had to know how he’d use this memo.
It’s naive to think that the president would view this memo as anything other than a weapon against the FBI and Mueller investigation.
Many members of Congress pointed to public pressure campaigns urging them to #ReleaseTheMemo, but research shows that these social media campaigns were by and large the result of Russian information warfare attacks.
The Memo’s False Allegations
The memo itself contradicts Team Trump’s central claim that the Steele Dossier provided the basis for the Mueller investigation. Rather, it was Trump campaign adviser George Papadopolous who’s ties to Russia prompted the investigation.
The memo claims that the Steele Dossier is the only evidence the FBI used in applying for a warrant to monitor Trump advisor Carter Page.
The memo also argues that the Steele Dossier — funded by Clinton’s opposition research efforts — shouldn’t be used by the FBI. It’s astonishing that GOP leaders think the FBI shouldn’t follow credible evidence or leads if it comes from a source they don’t like.
Despite the memo’s claims that the FBI had not told judges of the political nature of the dossier, they’ve now acknowledged that yes, in fact, the FBI did tell judges of the document’s political roots.
Ultimately, the memo claims to prove that there is an anti-Trump bias in the FBI, especially during the 2016 election. But there is no evidence that the FBI did anything at that time to tip the scales against Trump. On the contrary, the fact that these investigations were not leaked or made public show that they were not used to influence the election.
We know that Russia did attack our country with information warfare in the 2016 election, and we know that they continue to do so today. We also know that Carter Page has several troubling ties to Russian intelligence agents.
Critical questions to ask:
Why is the Trump administration, Devin Nunes, and the House GOP leadership trying to defend Carter Page with half-truths and partisan memos?
We already know that the Trump campaign included 5 advisors and employees with dangerous ties to the Kremlin: Flynn, Gates, Manafort, Page, and Papadopolous.
Why did the Trump administration hire so many advisers with inappropriate ties to Putin and the Kremlin?
Were those advisers hired because of their Russian ties, or were people working on behalf of the Russian government eager to inject themselves in the Trump campaign?
If they’ve done nothing wrong, why have so many of them openly lied about their connections, and why has the administration routinely misrepresented their work for the campaign?
These were the words uttered by a Michigan man as he called CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. “I’m smarter than you, more powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours,” he said.
Inspired by a catch phrase coined by President Trump, and one that has been used in countless attacks over the past year to discredit the legitimacy of the press, this man felt emboldened to act upon his frustrations. Thankfully, the FBI was able to intervene before it led to violence, but it remains a significant reminder of how impactful the President’s words can be in energizing his base, either to the benefit or detriment of the people.
In a recently released report by the PR firm, Edelman, the 2018 Trust Barometer states that mistrust in the United States is increasing rapidly. A majority of Americans — 63% — are unsure of the credibility of their news sources and 70% voiced concern about the weaponization of fake stories. Edelman continued, “The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse.” As mistrust continues to grow, it can become easy for opportunists to exploit this anxiety for their own purposes.
Many people would say that biased or even outright falsified reports are to blame for this loss of trust. It’s not hard to point out mistakes in reporting or editorial decisions that seem to favor certain angles in news stories. Media bias is real, and we shouldn’t hesitate to point it out. The danger comes when public figures use mistakes to undermine the credibility of the press and dismiss legitimate reports. President Trump’s escalating rhetoric against journalists and the media in general are just that — attempts to silence and undermine unflattering news.
The reality is that most news reports from established outlets are generally accurate and only marginally slanted by the opinions of the author. And when similar reports appear across several reputable outlets, we can have confidence that they are all circling the same thread of truth. The news media is not perfect. Luckily, our Constitution doesn’t need it to be.
The Founding Fathers understood that a free press was necessary to a functioning democracy. But they also knew that a free press could have biases or even make mistakes. The genius of the Constitution’s first amendment is in ensuring that we have a thriving market of ideas and facts for the citizenry to consume, analyze, and use to make informed decisions. Outrage, anger, and threats against the press don’t make for better reporting. They only threaten to diminish an essential component of our democracy.
The president’s anti-media rhetoric isn’t aimed at actually improving the quality of the media. On the contrary, it’s an attempt to animate and mislead his strongest supporters and convince them that no one should be trusted but the president himself. As world-renowned human rights activist Garry Kasparov says, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
A hallmark of effective presidential leadership should be the ability to inspire respect for our institutions and constructive civic debate, not agitating supporters to the brink of violence. Stand Up Republic and Stand Up Ideas are working together to promote and highlight the noble and necessary service journalists provide around the world. The courage they display in spite of the dangers and risks associated with the nature of their work should be honored, not discouraged. As Edelman stated in the 2018 Trust Barometer, “Silence is a tax on the truth. Trust is only going to be regained when the truth moves back to center stage. Institutions must answer the public’s call for providing factually accurate, timely information and joining the public debate. Media cannot do it alone because of political and financial constraints. Every institution must contribute to the education of the populace.”
This change is only possible if citizens remain civically active and engaged in defending these institutions against baseless attacks. We hope you’ll join us in highlighting the many ways journalists have changed the world for the better. You can join the conversation with us on twitter using the hashtag #FreePressFreeWorld.
The next time someone attacks the press, you can explain exactly why a free and open press is essential for an America that promises liberty and justice for all.