Tell your MoCs: read Mueller’s Report, and act!

Deadline: now, and sign up for July 24 watch party 

Every American should read what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation unearthed about Russian election interference, the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, and Trump’s obstruction of the investigation. And that goes DOUBLE for our Members of Congress, who have the duty to hold the current occupant and executive branch accountable.

Mueller’s only public statement, on May 29, 2019, was brief. Here are the main takeaways, and this article boils it down to ten points in plain English. Mueller will testify publicly before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 24, the first time he’ll face public questioning about the investigation. There are several things you can do to prepare so we can best analyze and amplify Mueller’s testimony, and counter Attorney General Barr’s lies and spin about the Report:  

1. First, find out whether your Members of Congress have read the full Mueller Report. Enter your address at this Common Cause tool; thank your MoCs if they have read it – or urge them to read it if they haven’t; and urge them to keep fighting to hold Trump accountable! Find your MoCs’ contact info at the end of this article.

2. Then – haven’t read the Mueller Report yourself? Get it for free:

3. Whether you’ve read it or not, join the Mueller Book Club. They’re offering two ways to watch the hearings:

  • Join the Club’s Zoom conferences during both segments of the live testimony, including a live stream of the testimony:
    • Click here to register for the Judiciary Committee segment (conference will begin at 5:15 AM PT; testimony begins at 5:30 AM)
    • Click here to register for the Intelligence Committee segment (conference will begin at 8:45 AM PT; testimony begins at 9 AM)
    • Click here to register for the 5:30 PM post-testimony analysis  with policy and legal experts to discuss the key takeaways from the day and next steps moving forward!
  • Or watch the Club’s Facebook Live stream of the testimony at their FB page.
  • You can also see past Mueller Book Club discussion videos.
  • Spread the word by submitting a letter to the editor! Use the Club’s tool to write a letter and find contact info for your local newspapers.

4. Next, want more background and more actions you can take? Read our earlier articles:

5. Last but not least — did you miss the debut of our Mueller (mis)fortune cookies at the Indivisible East Bay July 4 booth in El Cerrito? Get one while they last at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley!)

CONTACT INFO FOR OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

Graphic © Mueller Book Club

 

Mueller’s Report IS the smoking gun

Deadline: Yesterday, but if that’s impossible, NOW NOW NOW –

Mueller has spoken, and though his May 29 statement was brief, we’ll paraphrase and boil it down to the main takeaways:

  • The Special Counsel’s Office investigated efforts to interfere in our political system and, subsequently, to obstruct our investigation.
  • Volume 1 of the Report details numerous efforts by Russia to influence our election, and the Trump campaign’s response, as well as the Special Counsel’s conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.
  • Volume 2 describes the results and analysis of our investigation that the president obstructed justice.
  • Because of the Department of Justice policy that a sitting president can’t be charged with a federal crime, we did not make a determination whether Trump committed a crime.
  • However, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
  • And “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrong doing.” (In other words: Congress — I did my job, now you do yours.)
  • Finally: “And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American.

This article boils it down to ten easy points written in plain english with zero legalese.

Now that Mueller has spoken, it’s clear that his words reinforce what we’ve asked you to do over the past month:

We’re closing out this years-long month of May by asking you to mashup these intertwined actions! Click on the links above to our prior articles for more info and a wide range of actions you can take for each. But if you’ve already read them and want to get going, we’ll channel taciturn Robert Mueller and cut to the chase.

What you must do NOW:  

1. Read the Mueller Report! How to get it for free:

2. Urge your Representative to continue to investigate and to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

What to say: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please use the full extent of your oversight and investigative powers to get to the truth and hold Trump accountable, including opening an impeachment inquiry. As Mueller said in his statement, only Congress can accuse a sitting president.

[If your Rep. is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell, also say: Please do your job and cosponsor House Resolution 257].

[If your Rep. is Barbara Lee, also say: Thank you for cosponsoring House Resolution 257].

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

Mueller has spoken. Now it’s YOUR turn to speak out!

Read for the resistance!

Deadline: May 13 and ongoing 

Starting Monday, May 13, tens of thousands of Americans will resist the Obstructor-In-Chief and his lawless administration by reading and discussing the Mueller Report – together. Join us!

Despite our efforts to make sure that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was able to complete his Trump-Russia investigation and deliver a report, according to a CNN poll only 24% of Americans say they’ve read any of the report. 75% have so far opted not to read it, and only 3% say they’ve read all 448 pages.

Unindicted co-conspirator Individual-1 and Attorney General Bill “Stonewall” Barr have sparked a constitutional crisis, blocking Congress and the public from seeing the full report. They’re also trying to prevent witnesses, including Mueller himself, from testifying in public hearings. But while the Democrats, with our support, fight those battles, we have the report, and a critical way to resist is to READ IT!

Members of the Not Above the Law coalition began the Mueller Book Club to encourage more people to read the report. They’re calling on Americans to start local reading groups across the country, and to join them for a once-weekly broadcast to discuss it.

The “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election,” aka the Mueller Report, is the most in-depth summary the U.S. government has produced about Russia’s efforts to interfere in our 2016 election on behalf of  Trump. The two-year investigation also resulted in a sickening chronicle of Trump and his cronies intent on obstructing the investigation.

Over the course of a month, participants in the Mueller Book Club will read the report together, section by section. We’ll devote two weeks each to the two volumes, including footnotes and redactions, to learn what they tell us about the investigations and their consequences. Legal and policy experts will explain the contents and address key questions, and we’ll debate and discuss its findings online.

How to participate:

  • Join the #mueller_book_club channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. Not yet on Slack? Email us for an invite: info@indivisibleeb.org
  • Start a reading group in your own group or community.
  • Sign up to receive a weekly reading guide and information about the weekly online discussions – registration is open for the first call now
  • Encourage others in your community to engage with the report and its findings – organizers will send you suggestions
  • Join the Mueller Book Club facebook group

The organizers’ ultimate goal is for participants to understand the implications of the report, and to use that understanding to inform their friends, family and communities about what it means to them.

The Report debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and tops Amazon’s best seller list, but you can download it for free. Here are some alternatives to get the report:

 

More info & background

To find out more about the Special Counsel’s investigation, and learn what actions Indivisible East Bay has been taking to support it for over a year, read our past articles:

 

We see through Barr’s “transparency”

Deadline: hair on fire right now –

Updated April 27, 2019: 

Attorney General William “Cover Up” Barr delayed releasing his redacted version of Special Counsel Mueller’s 300+ page report for nearly a month after he got it. (See Indivisible East Bay’s text searchable version of the pdf). This served Individual-1 and also served two purposes: Barr wants to bury the report by dropping it the day before a long holiday weekend while Congress is in recess; and he and the administration had nearly a month to spin and lie to control public perception about the investigation’s findings. Oh yeah, and he dropped it after holding another head-spinning publicity stunt, oh we mean press conference, about Mueller’s report … but without (wait for it) Robert Mueller.

After constant demands from Congress that Barr release the full report and underlying investigation materials (thanks to your calls and nationwide Trump Is Not Above the Law protests), Barr said he’d redact “sensitive” materials from the report and release the rest. That’s NOT enough — we know Barr can’t be trusted! He’s left a paper trail, like the audition memo he wrote to get his AG gig. And there’s his history of summarizing and redacting important documents. In 1989 Barr summarized a legal opinion that led to the FBI abducting Panama’s leader, General Manuel Noriega. Only after Congress subpoenaed the legal opinion was it revealed that Barr’s summary did not fully disclose the opinion’s principal conclusions. Déjà vu all over again?

In Winston Churchill’s words, this is just the end of the beginning. Congress now has a version of the report, but it must continue to push to get the FULL report and all underlying investigatory evidence. Barr also put his heavy thumb on the scale, improperly making the determination that the evidence did not establish Trump obstructed justice. This is NOT Barr’s determination to make – Congress must move ahead and redouble its investigations to hold Trump and his cronies accountable.

What to do:

1. Call your Members of Congress, now and every day.

Yes, you need to call even when your MoCs have taken good positions on an issue – the other side is calling, and you need to make your voice heard!

What to say:

My name is _______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  I want _______ to do everything in their power to demand that AG Barr immediately give the full, unredacted Mueller report and all evidence to Congress. Also, I support the Democrats’ investigations to hold Trump accountable, and want them to expand the investigations to follow up on all evidence in the Mueller report.

2. Spread the word on social media!

See Indivisible National’s April 18 statement, and then try out their nifty new tool to create and upload a short video clip expressing your opinion.

More info & background

To find out more, and learn what actions we’ve been taking for over a year, read our past articles:

 

March 2019 Meeting with Alameda4Impeachment & Rep. Lee Staff

By Rosemary Jordan

On March 14, 2019, members of Alameda4Impeachment, including Indivisible East Bay members, met with Representative Barbara Lee’s congressional aide Jain Thapa to discuss Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments about impeachment in the context of the growing list of potentially impeachable offenses.

We opened the 45-minute meeting by thanking Rep. Lee for her strong support to impeach the President, including but not limited to her cosponsoring H.Res. 621 in the last Congress. Mr. Thapa confirmed that Rep. Lee continues to unequivocally support impeachment.

We discussed a range of topics related to the scope of the Special Counsel probe vs. the potential scope of an impeachment inquiry, and we supplied articles to Mr. Thapa explaining that the risks of further delays to a professionally-led inquiry should be of primary concern to all House members.

Among the other topics we covered:

  • Hearing Procedure: we discussed that the House Oversight & Judiciary hearings to date have been hamstrung by the five-minute interval questioning approach and by the absence of professional counsel. We shared with Mr. Thapa that professionally facilitated hearings would improve the public’s understanding of the facts. We urged him to share with Rep. Lee that her leadership role offers her a opportunity to shape committee procedures.
  • Risks of Corruption on Public Safety & Global Reputation: we reviewed the tragedy of the Ethiopian Air crash and explored how cronyism between the President and the Boeing CEO has the world community so concerned that they sent the black boxes to France for analysis, rather than to the U.S.
  • Concerns About the Peaceful Transition of Power: we discussed our fears that an optimistic outlook on 2020 is overblown – just as Trump’s chances in 2016 were misunderstood. We further shared our increasing concerns that the President will not accept the 2020 election results if they’re unfavorable to him. Given the ongoing and unaddressed attacks on our democracy (through social media manipulation and other tactics) and possible intrusions into our election systems, we shared our sense of urgency to investigate claims that our President is actively abetting these intrusions.

We closed by sharing two requests with Mr. Thapa:

  1. That Rep. Lee write a letter to Rep. Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him to immediately begin a formal inquiry, with public hearings, on the issue of impeachment. The hearings would focus on whether evidence exists to support impeachment, and if so, making a record of such evidence and, if warranted, drafting articles of impeachment.

    2.  We requested an in-person meeting with Rep. Lee in the East Bay during the current Congressional recess to discuss our first request, and also to get her views on the current status of and prospects for impeaching the President.

Rosemary Jordan is Co-Founder of Alameda4Impeachment, a registered Indivisible group and a partner in the Citizens Impeachment Coalition, which includes representatives of cities, towns and counties nationwide (including four in the East Bay) that have passed local Impeachment resolutions. Rosemary also serves on the Steering Committee of All Rise Alameda and is co-leader of the End The Tampon Tax In California campaign. She has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare and aging.

We the people demand to see the report

 

Deadline: ASAP today and every day –

Last November hundreds of thousands of us, mobilized by the Nobody is Above the Law (NIATL) network (begun by MoveOn and now made up of a coalition of many other groups), hit the streets to stand up for the rule of law and protect the independence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation

The NIATL network’s red lines that would trigger another mass protest include some original ones: if Trump fired Mueller, pardoned key witnesses, or took another action that prevented the investigation from being conducted freely. Other red lines have been formulated as Trump and his GOP enablers have repeatedly tried to denigrate, obstruct, or shut down the investigation. These red lines were added in September 2018:

[A protest would be set in motion if:] The Mueller investigation releases findings showing significant wrongdoing by Donald Trump. Or Congress or the administration blocks the public from seeing Mueller’s findings.

Attorney General William Barr is now overseeing the investigation. Barr was cagey during his confirmation hearing, indicating he might not make the entire report public, and saying he’d “provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law.” There have previously been incorrect reports that the investigation was wrapping up, and  apparently the articles coming out on February 20 (a mere week after Barr’s appointment) are true, that he was preparing to announce the completion of the investigation as soon as the following week, and that he plans to submit a summary of Mueller’s report to Congress soon after, are also incorrect. One analyst had predicted this, writing that it likely would not have been THE confidential report dictated by the Special Counsel regulations, but rather a partial report.

Regardless of the timing, we should take steps NOW to make sure the report is released to the public. Senators Blumenthal and Grassley have introduced S. 236, the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that would require the Mueller investigation findings to be made fully available to Congress AND the public. Neither Senators Feinstein nor Harris have cosponsored.

What to do NOW:

Let your Members of Congress know that the investigation must be protected, and that whenever it’s ready, the entire report should be released to the public.

What to say to Senators Feinstein and Harris:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please do all you can in Congress to hold Trump accountable and protect the Mueller investigation. Only Mueller should decide when his investigation is complete. And when he’s done, the public should see his full report. Please support and cosponsor the Special Counsel Transparency Act.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

What to say to Representatives DeSaulnier, Lee and Swalwell:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please do all you can in Congress to hold Trump accountable and protect the Mueller investigation. Only Mueller should decide when his investigation is complete. And when he’s done, the public should see his full report.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What else you can do:

Act now to protect Mueller

Deadline: today and every day –

Hundreds of thousands of us took to the streets nationwide on November 8th to stand up for the rule of law and protect the independence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation. 

By forcing out Jeff Sessions, and illegally installing* the unqualified Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General to oversee the Mueller investigation, Trump is blatantly moving to shut down the investigation into his own crimes and corruption. Whitaker has frequently criticized the Mueller investigation, echoing Trump’s “witch hunt” smear and proposed cutting Mueller’s budget. 

What to do NOW:

Contact your Members of Congress! Senators Feinstein and Harris have already spoken out, as have Representatives DeSaulnier, Lee, and Swalwell. Thank them and urge them to do everything they can to protect the independence of the investigation.

What to say:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has a profound conflict and must be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation. Please do all you can in Congress to hold Trump accountable and protect the Mueller investigation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What else you can do:

 

Indivisible East Bay members flooded the streets with their friends and fellow progressives in the several Bay Area Nobody Is Above the Law protests! Here are some photos from the El Cerrito event, which many IEB members helped organize.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photographs © Heidi Rand

*We don’t normally cite to news sources with paywalls, but in this case the linked article is an opinion piece in the New York Times, so we are citing to the original source

Rapid response protests called for 11/8 at 5 PM

BREAKING: PROTESTS CALLED FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 5 PM LOCAL TIME, by the Nobody Is Above the Law network

Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the Special Counsel Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as special counsel Robert Mueller’s boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation. Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it.

The Nobody Is Above the Law network and its coalition of partners has demanded that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation, and its hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice. The NIAL demands are:

  • Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has a profound conflict and must be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
  • Congress must exercise its Constitutional authority to hold the President accountable and pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.
  • Any future Attorney General appointed by Trump must issue a public order giving Mueller full independence to complete the investigation without political interference.

What to do NOW:

 

Some ways to prepare:

  • Read the ACLU’s article Know Your Rights: Free Speech, Protests & Demonstrations
  • Download the ACLU’s Mobile Justice app to record police activity and send it immediately to the ACLU affiliate nearest you. Get the California app, MobileJusticeCA
  • Put the National Lawyers Guild hotline numbers into your phone, and write them on your arm in ink:
    • to call from local jails ONLY: 415-285-1011
    • outside of jail calls, call NLG hotline volunteers: 415-909-4NLG (4654)
    • if no answer, send an email to the NLG Demonstrations Committee at nlgsfhotline@protonmail.com
  • Get your go-bag together:
    • charged cell phone and portable power if you have
    • water bottle and energy bars or other portable food
    • medications you may need
    • layers of clothing to add if it gets cold
    • a sign with your message

Note, these are the “red lines” previously issued by MoveOn, Indivisible, and many other groups:

    • If Trump fires Mueller or Rosenstein
    • If Trump pardons key witnesses
    • If Trump takes another action that prevents the investigation from being conducted freely, such as replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s current supervisor or repealing the regulations establishing the office
    • Additional red line added on Sept. 24: The Mueller investigation releases findings showing significant wrongdoing by Donald Trump. Or Congress or the administration blocks the public from seeing Mueller’s findings.

 

A Rosenstein red line?

When last we met for a Trump-Russia investigation update, we were concerned that the August 21, 2018 convictions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen had shoved us closer to the precipice of a constitutional crisis.

Well, a month later it feels like we’re dangling by our fingertips. Breaking news on September 24 about Rod Rosenstein’s status as deputy Attorney General included conflicting accounts on whether he was planning to resign, had been fired, or remained in his post as Robert Mueller’s boss on the investigation. The White House eventually said that Rosenstein still had a job, but would meet with the Current Occupant on Thursday, September 27.

Because as of now Rosenstein has not been fired, the Nobody Is Above the Law network has NOT triggered the rapid-response plan. Indivisible National’s updated article makes an additional point that the administration is sowing chaos to distract from the ongoing fight over the Supreme Court, and until we have news that Rosenstein has been fired, we must focus on supporting the brave survivors coming forward to tell their stories and fight to keep Brett Kavanaugh from getting confirmed.

These are “red lines” issued by MoveOn, Indivisible, and many other groups, meaning that any of the following will trigger mass protest:

  • If Trump fires Mueller or Rosenstein
  • If Trump pardons key witnesses
  • If Trump takes another action that prevents the investigation from being conducted freely, such as replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s current supervisor or repealing the regulations establishing the office
  • Additional red line added on Sept. 24: The Mueller investigation releases findings showing significant wrongdoing by Donald Trump. Or Congress or the administration blocks the public from seeing Mueller’s findings.

What you can do now:

Contact your Members of Congress! See our article for a historical overview of the bills introduced to protect the investigation, none of which have progressed.

  • Call your Senators and ask them to:
    • Demand a vote on, and to support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (S. 2644) to protect Mueller and the Russia investigation.
    • Protect the special counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of all federal government law enforcement assets.
    • Demand the creation of a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals and Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of justice
  • Call your Representative and ask him or her to do all they can to pass legislation to protect the Special Counsel and the investigation, and to call for bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

And prepare if we need to hit the streets:

  • Read the ACLU’s article Know Your Rights: Free Speech, Protests & Demonstrations
  • Download the ACLU’s Mobile Justice app to record police activity and send it immediately to the ACLU affiliate nearest you. Get the California app, MobileJusticeCA
  • Put the National Lawyers Guild hotline numbers into your phone, and write them on your arm in ink:
    • to call from local jails ONLY: 415-285-1011
    • outside of jail calls, call NLG hotline volunteers: 415-909-4NLG (4654)
    • if no answer, send an email to the NLG Demonstrations Committee at nlgsfhotline@protonmail.com
  • Get your go-bag together:
    • charged cell phone and portable power if you have
    • water bottle and energy bars or other portable food
    • medications you may need
    • layers of clothing to add if it gets cold
    • a sign with your message

 

Manafort. Cohen. Trump? Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

OMG! We witnessed on Tuesday August 21, in little more than an hour, a confluence of events that a political thriller screenwriter would reject as too far-fetched. But the head-spinning news was true, and, if you’re Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen or Donald Trump, the truth was astonishingly bad.

At almost exactly the same moment, in two courthouses only a few hours drive from each other, two of Trump’s key associates were found guilty on multiple counts for federal crimes.

In Virginia, at the trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a jury found the defendant guilty on eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud. Since this was the first jury conviction in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, you might think this would be the worst news of the day for Trump and his base and enablers.

You’d be wrong.

At the same time as the Manafort jury delivered the guilty verdicts, Trump’s long-time personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen stood in a federal courtroom in New York City and pled guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, and, most critically for potential impact on Trump, a count of having violated campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” Trump isn’t named, but Cohen’s court filing refers to “Individual-1, who by January 2017 had become president of the United States.” The violation refers to payments Cohen made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to prevent them from going public with their salacious stories in the weeks before the 2016 election.

Tuesday’s events echo one of Doonesbury’s most memorable comic strips about Watergate:

Doonesbury.jpg

While no one expects Trump to admit it, the day’s events put the lie to any notion that the Mueller investigation is a “rigged witch hunt” or “hoax.” Quite the contrary.

We can’t overstate the shattering implications of what went down on Aug. 21. For starters, Cohen stated under oath in open court that “Individual-1” (evidently He Whose Name May Not Be Spoken, but who we all know is Donald J. Trump) conspired with him to commit a federal crime. Cohen further said that the charge linked to McDougal was done “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.” In normal times, this alone would be sufficient to initiate impeachment proceedings. Sadly, these are not normal times. Rather, these are times when a gutless GOP-controlled Congress won’t even think the “I” word for fear of Trump and his base turning on them.

Meanwhile, 69-year old Manafort faces a sentence that legal experts estimate from seven to 10 years, and a second trial on separate Russia-related charges due to start next month. The pressure for him to cut a deal for leniency in exchange for info about Trump appears immense.

Which is why Aug. 21 shoved us a huge step closer to the precipice of a constitutional crisis! Trump could pardon Manafort and/or Cohen. Most likely? A pardon of Manafort to try to keep his former campaign manager from “flipping.” And Manafort’s steadfast refusal (preceding his convictions) to bargain with prosecutors suggests he is counting on a pardon. Conversely, appearing on the Today show the Day After, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis stated that his client would not accept Trump’s pardon, elaborating that Cohen “. . . considers a pardon from someone who acted so corruptly as president to be something he would never accept.”

Trump’s pardon of a key witness would be a serious, crisis-precipitating obstruction of justice; an attempt to impede the investigation into crimes his co-conspirator has plead guilty to, crimes that may have altered the outcome of the election and thus call into question the legitimacy of his victory.

This is one of the “red lines” on the list issued by MoveOn, Indivisible, and many other groups, that will trigger mass protest if Trump crosses one:

  • Firing Mueller
  • Pardons of key witnesses
  • Actions that would prevent the investigation from being conducted freely, such as replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s current supervisor, or repealing the regulations establishing the office

What you can do now:

And prepare if we need to hit the streets:

  • Read the ACLU’s article Know Your Rights: Free Speech, Protests & Demonstrations
  • Download the ACLU’s Mobile Justice app to record police activity and send it immediately to the ACLU affiliate nearest you. Get the California app, MobileJusticeCA
  • Put the National Lawyers Guild hotline numbers into your phone, and write them on your arm in ink:
    • to call from local jails ONLY: 415-285-1011
    • outside of jail calls, call NLG hotline volunteers: 415-909-4NLG (4654)
    • if no answer, send an email to the NLG Demonstrations Committee at nlgsfhotline@protonmail.com
  • Prepare a go-bag with:
    • charged cell phone and portable power if you have
    • water bottle and energy bars or other portable food
    • layers of clothing to add if it gets cold
    • a sign with your message

Doonesbury comic strip © Garry Trudeau
Photo-montage of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, and Paul Manafort © Getty Images

Ted Landau contributed to this article. Ted is a retired professor of psychology. He has also spent several decades as a tech journalist/author — writing primarily about Apple products. He has been politically active in the East Bay since moving here in 2004.