The other impeachment – Brett Kavanaugh

By Ann G. Daniels

Deadline: Now, the Supreme Court’s already in session –

While we’re talking impeachment … which we do, a lot … did you know that although a US President hasn’t YET been removed from office after being impeached, federal judges have been? That’s right, we can impeach a federal judge, and it’s been done before. Brett Kavanaugh, serial perjurer, time’s up.

As Senator Kamala Harris recently said, Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were “not a serious pursuit of truth or justice” – and the way to get such a hearing is through the impeachment process. 

Senator Harris has called on the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley has introduced H.Res. 560, “Inquiring whether the House of Representatives should impeach Brett M. Kavanaugh.” House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler says the Committee is “too busy” impeaching Trump – we certainly don’t want to distract them, but we believe Congress can multi-task, and we want their attention. After all, the House didn’t get a chance to grill Kavanaugh before, since judicial nominees only come before the Senate – let’s tell them to step up and be counted when they have the chance.

What to do:

Here’s a basic message you can tailor for each of our Members of Congress:

My name is _______, my zip code is _______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were an outrage, and I want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings to look into his perjury during those hearings. We deserve to have a Supreme Court that we can trust not to make a mockery of justice.

  • For Senator Kamala Harris, add: I want to thank Senator Harris for publicly stating her support for impeaching Brett Kavanaugh. Please keep it up!
    (
    email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • For Senator Dianne Feinstein, add: I hope Senator Feinstein will wholeheartedly support impeaching Brett Kavanaugh, and will publicly state her support as Senator Harris has done.
    (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • For Representative Barbara Lee, add: I want to thank Representative Lee for cosponsoring H.Res. 560. I hope she’ll continue to fight for impeaching Brett Kavanaugh.
    (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • For Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell, add: I want Representative ____ to cosponsor H.Res. 560, and I hope he will fight to impeach Kavanaugh as Rep. Barbara Lee is doing. We need the House to take action to make sure that the Supreme Court doesn’t become as corrupt as the White House.
    Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
    Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065 

Chișinău,” graphic by Tony Bowden

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

Dis-Barred: Barr should be impeached

By Heidi Rand

Deadline: Start now and keep going – We didn’t have to call the Psychic Hotline to know that Bill Barr would be the Disaster-in-Chief’s Roy Cohn. As patriotic whistleblowers and intrepid journalists shine light on the Current (not for long we hope) Occupant’s abuses of power, also illuminated are his colluding toadies’ high crimes, and it’s time to reveal what Bill “Cover-Up” Barr has been up to.

The Constitution provides the same remedy to eject a law-breaking Attorney General: impeachment. What might a Barr impeachment inquiry focus on?

What you can do:

Call your Members of Congress. The House would initiate an impeachment inquiry, so contact your Representative to thank them each for speaking out against Barr: Rep. Swalwell (CA-15) has called for Barr’s impeachment; Rep. Lee (CA-13) has called for Barr to resign, as has Rep. DeSaulnier (CA-11) and:

What to say: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge Representative ____ to continue speaking out publicly about AG Barr’s corrupt abuses of power, and I want the House to open an impeachment inquiry into his conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint, and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

  • 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

Our Senators can speak out publicly about Barr’s corruption, can push for investigations, including as members of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Kamala Harris is speaking out to insist that Barr come back to Congress to testify under oath about the question she asked him at a May Judiciary Committee hearing — which he refused to answer — whether the White House had asked him to open an investigation of anyone.

What to say to Senator Harris:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for calling on AG Barr to return to testify to Congress under oath about your question to him at the hearing in May regarding whether the White House every asked him to investigate anyone. Please call for an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Senator Feinstein released a statement on September 21 calling on Barr to transmit the whistleblower report and any guidance provided to the Director of National Intelligence to Congress as soon as possible. The former is moot, but Feinstein should continue to push for more information, and to speak out publicly about Barr’s abuses.

What to say to Senator Feinstein:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for your September 21 statement about AG Barr. Please continue to pursue your request that he provide information on any advice or guidance by the Justice Department to the Acting Director of National Intelligence about transmittal of the whistleblower’s report to Congress. And please call for an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct related to the whistleblower’s complaint and the Mueller Report and intelligence investigations.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Do you live outside the East Bay, or have friends in other districts or states? Spread the word! Use this link to find contact info for all Members of Congress.

 

“NOT OK,” graphic by Lynn LaRocca, of Alameda4Impeachment

Heidi Rand fights the evil empire with skills gained as a Ninth Circuit staff attorney and civil rights lawyer, using words to resist, and to inform and inspire others to take action. She also wields a mean camera and knitting needles, though not at the same time.

Release the full Mueller report

Deadline: ASAP and every day until the complete report is released –

Update Monday April 1: The national Trump Is Not Above the Law coalition is moving forward with the #ReleaseTheReport day of action on this April 4. If you haven’t already, find and RSVP to attend a Nobody Is Above the Law rapid response rally near you. You’ll get info and alerts if/when a response is called by your local organizers. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his report, which we finally learned is nearly 400 pages long, not including tables and appendices, but Congress still hasn’t seen the full report with underlying documentation, and neither have we! Attorney General William Barr’s March 24 four-page summary is a Cliffs Notes version that raises more questions than it answers.

Democrats are pushing hard for complete disclosure. Six lead House Democratic chairs of committees that are investigating 45 and his cronies for abuses of power gave Barr until April 2 to deliver the full Mueller Report to Congress. Barr told them on March 29 that he’ll miss that deadline, but expects to release a redacted public report by mid-April. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler is standing firm by the April 2 deadline. We didn’t fall for Barr’s first whitewash, and we won’t accept the Cover-up Attorney General’s scrubbed version — we stand with Chair Nadler and the Democrats: Congress must get the full Special Counsel’s report and all underlying investigatory evidence, and the public must see everything, with only very narrowly drawn redactions.

What to do:

  • Find and RSVP to attend a Nobody Is Above the Law rapid response rally near you. You’ll get info and alerts if/when a response is called
  • No local protest? Sign up to host one. And spread the word by sending the link to everyone you know
  • Tell your Members of Congress that we demand transparency and complete disclosure of the Special Counsel’s report and investigation. Every day that passes without the full truth, Individual-1 and his minions continue to use the self-serving Barr letter to target and try to silence the people who are speaking out and investigating him. Take action, and keep reading below the call to action for more info & background.

What to say:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank _________ for supporting disclosing the Special Counsel’s report to the American people. I want _______ to insist that Attorney General Barr immediately give the full Special Counsel’s report and all underlying investigatory materials to Congress. The full report and materials also have to be made public. I also want Congress to continue investigating Trump beyond the scope of the Mueller investigation.

  • 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

 

For more info & background, and to learn what actions we’ve been taking for over a year, read our past articles:

Also, see Indivisible National’s updated webpage, and their informational article, and sign MoveOn’s Pledge to Mobilize.

Indivisible East Bay members and fellow activists got rousing honks and fists raised in solidarity from drivers at the March 27 El Cerrito Shows Up, where we waved signs and talked to passers-by about our demands that the full Special Counsel report be released to the public! If a rapid response event is called, we’ll meet at the same location. You can RSVP for the El Cerrito event here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Heidi Rand

Save our healthcare, save our lives

Deadline: Do it now! – Our healthcare is under attack by the GOP, again — or to be accurate — STILL!

In December 2018, the trial court in Texas v. US, a lawsuit brought in February 2018 by several states’ conservative Attorneys General, ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is invalid. That’s bad, but it’s just a single trial court. The case is now on appeal to the powerful Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where on March 25, 2019 the Department of Justice agreed, urging the appeals court to strike down the entire ACA. That’s scary, but it gets worse: the DOJ’s reversal of its position was apparently taken over the objections of its own Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and those of Attorney General William Barr.

This is of course just the administration’s latest try to kill the ACA (and many many of us, along with it) — but it’s a doozy. As Indivisible National says:

This is the Trump administration’s clearest attempt yet, not just to sabotage, but to completely annihilate the ACA — and in doing so, unleash chaos on our health care system and on millions of Americans lives.

We’re pissed. And we know you are too.

→ It would jeopardize Medicaid expansion in 37 states.
→ It would end protections for preexisting conditions.
→ It would end coverage for young people who’d otherwise be able to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.
→ It would end required coverage of preventive care — like cancer screenings, vaccines, birth control, blood pressure tests and more.

And so, so much more.

You’ve fought for the ACA and sane healthcare policies before. It’s time to join the battle again!

What you can do:

  • Learn more about the legal case in Indivisible’s article
  • Thank California Attorney General Xavier Becerra – he’s one of the state AGs defending the ACA in Texas v. US, and he has announced that he and other AGs will appeal the district court’s ruling striking down the ACA to the Fifth Circuit.
    • Attorney General Xavier Becerra:  (email);  (800) 952-5225 [select English or Spanish, then press 0]
  • Thank your Representative for cosponsoring Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (WA-07) Medicare for All Act (H.R. 1384), and ask them to continue to speak out publicly and to do all they can to support the ACA and to reform our health care system to guarantee health care coverage for all. For more info about the Act, read Indivisible’s article
  • Thank Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris for speaking out, and ask them to continue to do all they can to support the ACA and to reform our health care system to guarantee health care coverage for all
  • Watch for a bill House Democrats unveiled on March 26, the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act, which Leader Pelosi said “lowers health care insurance premiums, stops junk plans, strengthens protections for pre-existing conditions and reverses the GOP health care sabotage.” She also commented, about the DOJ’s position in the Texas v. US lawsuit: “.. . . [T]he Department of Justice becomes the Department of Injustice when it wants to tear down health care benefits.  Because as Dr. King said, ‘people could die’ – people could die.”

Call now!

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (email): (510) 620-1000 DC: (202) 225-2095; 440 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (email): (510) 763-0370 DC: (202) 225-2661; 1301 Clay Street #1000N, Oakland CA 94612
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (email): (510) 370-3322 DC: (202) 225-5065; 3615 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley CA 94546

We demand the truth

Deadline: ASAP –

See our latest article, updated on March 30

Update March 28: Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his report, but Congress hasn’t seen the full report with underlying documentation yet and neither have we.  Attorney General William Barr delivered his supplemental letter, a highly truncated summary of the Special Counsel’s report on March 24, but the letter raises more questions than it answers. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer’s joint statement in response said, in part:

Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise. …  The American people have a right to know.

On March 26 the DOJ reported that Barr will make a “version” of the report public in weeks. We’re not buying it! We didn’t fall for Barr’s first whitewash, his four-page Cliffs Notes letter, and we won’t accept any “version” Trump’s Cover-up Attorney General is selling, other than the full Special Counsel’s report.

We have a right to know: we demand to see the full report, and all underlying investigatory materials not subject to legitimate privilege. Every day that passes without the full truth, Individual-1 and his minions will continue to use the self-serving Barr letter to target and try to silence the people who are speaking out and investigating him. Take action, and keep reading below the call to action for more info & background.

What you can do:

1. Tell your Members of Congress that we the people demand transparency and complete disclosure of the Special Counsel’s report and investigation. 

What to say:

My name is ______________, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank _________ for supporting disclosing the Special Counsel’s report to the American people. I want _______ to insist that Attorney General Barr immediately give the full Special Counsel’s report and all underlying investigatory materials to Congress. The full report and materials also have to be made public. I also want Congress to continue investigating Trump beyond the scope of the Mueller investigation.

  • 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

2. What else you can do:

Even though the report is complete, there’s still a danger that we’ll need to mobilize. Some of the original red lines that would trigger a mass protest are still in place, and particularly important are these new ones 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.

  • Find and RSVP to attend a Nobody Is Above the Law rapid response rally near you (900+ events are pre-registered in case a response is called). Attorney General William Barr has until Tuesday, April 2, to send the full Mueller Report to Congress. That’s the deadline set this week by six House committee chairs, after which they’ll consider Barr to be non-compliant and will issue a subpoena. We’ll know by the following morning, Wednesday, whether he has met that deadline or is refusing to make it public. If Barr misses the deadline to make the Mueller report public, shielding the Trump administration from public accountability, the Nobody Is Above the Law rapid-response network will likely be activated on Wednesday morning, calling for a national day of action the following day, THURSDAY, APRIL 4, at 5 p.m. local time.
  • No local rally? Sign up to host one. And spread the word by sending the link to everyone you know
  • Sign MoveOn’s Pledge to Mobilize
  • See Indivisible National’s updated webpage, and their informational article

 

More info & background:

On March 22, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on the Trump-Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr. Barr has committed to transparency, but it’s up to us to make sure Barr forwards the complete, original Special Counsel’s report and all underlying investigatory documents to Congress. And after Congress receives the materials, they must be made public, with appropriate redactions for legitimate national security reasons.

Democrats are speaking out, and demanding full disclosure. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer put out a joint statement calling for Barr to make the full report public, and to provide the underlying documentation to Congress. Our Representatives had already voted for disclosure: on March 14, 2019 the House passed, by a vote of  420-0 (yes, that’s a ZERO), a resolution calling on the Department of Justice to make the special counsel’s findings and full report public and available to Congress. Our own CA-11 Representative Mark DeSaulnier led the debate on H. Con. Res 208. Our Senators both spoke out in favor of disclosure, but Republicans blocked a vote on the bill in the Senate.

In addition, shortly after news about the report hit, DeSaulnier posted a tweet, ” … The AG should send the report to Congress expeditiously & abide by Congressional intent to make the findings public. The American people deserve transparency & accountability.” And Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted: “Show us the report. Now. The American people spoke loudly, and clearly last November: we choose a balance of power over abuse of power.  Representative Barbara Lee also spoke out.

In an email statement, Senator Kamala Harris said: “You have my commitment that I will not rest until the truth is delivered publicly and in full.” She included a petition, which reads: “Americans deserve to know the truth now that the Mueller report is complete. The report must be released immediately and Attorney General Barr must publicly testify under oath about the investigation’s findings. We need total transparency here.” Senator Dianne Feinstein has previously spoken out strongly in favor of release.

While we mobilize to make sure the complete report isn’t hidden from Congress, or us, we should prepare to understand what it’s likely to have in it. AG Barr and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein have indicated that the Special Counsel’s report probably won’t touch on anyone who hasn’t already been indicted. And since the Department of Justice may be following its policy that a sitting president may not be indicted (there’s disagreement about that), Mueller’s report likely won’t include information detailing criminal wrongdoing by Individual-1. He’ll call that a win, but — it hardly needs saying — don’t believe him: this just means that his wrongdoing can’t be detailed in Mueller’s summary of his investigation. All the more reason that we need Barr to disclose all of the underlying investigatory documents, to ensure 45 is held fully accountable. Barr himself has said that the place for the president to be held accountable is in Congress; thus, Congress must get the entire Mueller report and investigatory materials. The White House has been stonewalling the House Democrats’ investigations, so we must continue to support our Representatives who are standing up in their search for the truth.

For more historical background, and to learn what actions we’ve been taking for over a year, read our past articles in reverse chronological order:

Meeting with Feinstein State Director 2/6

By Larry Baskett

On February 6, 2019, Indivisible East Bay braved the rain to attend our first meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s state director, Jim Lazarus, who is newly in the role but has worked for Feinstein on and off ever since she was mayor of San Francisco (his most recent job was for the SF Chamber of Commerce). Field Representative Abby Ellis, who has met with us before, joined in.

We led with an ask to stop Trump’s expanded plans for nuclear weapons development (including low-yield nukes) and space-based missile defense (“space wall,” i.e. Reagan’s “Star Wars” redux). The new nuclear arms race is bad news even before one considers who’s in charge. There weren’t ideas on how to stop withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. When we asked for Sen. Feinstein to use her position on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to work on the issue with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, as well as whether Feinstein was committed to a long-term goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, Lazarus said they would check with the DC office. On the no-nukes goal, we recommended contacting former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry.

On Trump’s racist southern border policies, we asked for Feinstein to follow up on her efforts to legislate restrictions on Trump using funds via “emergency declaration.” For instance, she could work with ranking Senate Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Member John Tester to strip out language that would allow it. Lazarus and Ellis said they’d follow up. They said that the federal bureaucracy is pretty independent and that city bureaucracies seem more responsive on the matter. Lazarus also said when Feinstein’s staff visited the San Diego youth immigrant facility (ahem, prison), the conditions were better than one might expect from reporting elsewhere… which was good to hear, but not very reassuring, seeing as how the whole system is a gross injustice. We asked for Feinstein to visit personally, as she has previously committed to doing.

Also, we asked Feinstein to cosponsor the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018, S.2522. Currently foreign adoptees with American parents, children who would have qualified for citizenship but who for whatever reason didn’t go through the regular process, don’t have a formal recourse to become citizens. This issue personally impacts a loved one of one of our members.

Regarding the rapid pace of confirmations of conservative hack judges and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s plan to accelerate them, we asked for more outspoken protest and procedural hardball from Feinstein, citing Sen. Mazie Hirono’s close questioning and consistent “nay” votes and Sen. Harris’ recent commitment to vote NO on all judges in protest.

We also asked for opposition to attorney general appointee William Barr, noting that a president under investigation shouldn’t get his own pick of AG. We didn’t get much of a response on this; Feinstein did subsequently vote against Barr.

We brought up ever-rising health care costs, including the recent SF General Hospital scandal about soaking non-Medicare patients. We asked Feinstein to support a bill to outlaw “surprise medical billing” with a policy that would put the onus on providers to work out billing with insurers rather than with patients.

We also asked for support of single-payer insurance (Medicare for All). Ellis said that Feinstein supports a public option and broadening California Access Care; she also asked how we’d fund single-payer. Lazarus pointed out that other countries with public systems started them a long time ago and that even Medicare today takes private supplemental insurance for better coverage. This was not encouraging.

We discussed the idea of public banking to fund Green New Deal programs and tied it into developing efforts with Public Bank East Bay and the California Public Banking Alliance. Lazarus said he’d look into it and mentioned the possibility of a statewide public bank as well as banking services for the now-legalized marijuana industry.

We asked whether Feinstein was open to following Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s lead on a 70% or higher top marginal tax rate and/or Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s lead on a wealth tax, for economic justice and fairness. Lazarus didn’t know Feinstein’s position. He brought up how the Constitution was amended to authorize an income tax, and while he cast doubt upon a federal wealth tax’s constitutionality, he noted that many states do have an asset tax, in the form of a property tax. He was also concerned about wealth flight overseas. Again, the direction of the conversation wasn’t very encouraging.

Feinstein has found an as-yet-not-public cosponsor for her homelessness relief bill. It would involve grants via the Health and Human Services Administration to fund a variety of nonprofits and local agencies in support of housing for the poor. The emphasis would be on the states most impacted, like California, New York, and Florida.

Finally, we asked for a public town hall meeting with the Senator. Lazarus wasn’t sure and said that it depended upon the Senate’s schedule, with the likeliest time being during an August recess. Next time, hopefully we can get more specificity from Lazarus on Feinstein’s public positions and responses to our requests.

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year on staff at the California State Senate and who previously volunteered with Wolf PAC, the campaign finance reform organization.

 

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:

IEB Meets with Senator Harris’ Staff, January 2019

By Leslie A. Burton

On January 15, 2019, Indivisible East Bay met with Senator Kamala Harris’ State Director, Julie Rodriguez, and other office staff at the Senator’s downtown San Francisco office.  

Shutdown. We opened with the government shutdown, at that point on its 24th day – the longest in U.S. history (and still ongoing as of this writing). We asked that the Senator not back down on her opposition to the border wall. We pointed out the need to  disseminate more positive stories about immigrants and noted environmental hazards to wildlife caused by the wall. Julie acknowledged the problems with privatizing immigration detention centers. We asked that Senator Harris consider forcing a vote on the budget by making a motion to proceed, but Julie didn’t think that the senator was inclined to do that.

Barr for Attorney General. Although we disapprove of the appointment of William Barr as AG, Julie explained that though Harris will likely oppose (and she officially announced opposition soon after our meeting) his appointment is likely a “done deal.”

Judicial appointments. We expressed our dismay that judges who have been found “not qualified” by the American Bar Association are being approved.  ABA approval should be a non-negotiable qualification. We asked that each judicial candidate be put through the entire vetting and approval process, with no concessions to speed up the process. Julie noted that the Blue Slip process, which had been the protocol for every other administration, is not being followed now, and said she hopes in the future we can move to restore the previous protocol to confirm judges.

Julie was pleased, though, with the decision of the federal court in Manhattan that will prevent citizenship questions from being asked on the 2020 census. She is also heartened that Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts seems to be moving a little to the left.

Nuclear arms. We voiced concern over Senator Jon Kyl’s proposals to stockpile more nuclear warheads. Rep. Engel is willing to open debate on repeal of AUMF in the House. Sen. Merkley’s AUMF repeal framework includes tying humanitarian goals into any repeal legislation. We support Engel and Merkley and would like to know how Senator Harris stands on these issues. We would like her to support a No First Use (of nuclear weapons) policy. Julie was not aware of Sen. Harris’ stance on these issues but she promised that she would discuss them with her. Senator Harris, like us, is concerned that we have the right checks and balances in place when an unstable person is in charge of nuclear arms.

Defense Budget/Budget Control Act Caps. Senator Harris supports parity between military and non-military spending. Julie doesn’t know about the proposal to discontinue humanitarian aid to Yemen, but she will look into it, as well as into the proposal to bring the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act below $700 billion.

DHS/HHS appropriations for immigration centers. Two children have died in ICE custody at the border without explanation; there is no oversight or responsibility to prevent abuses by ICE; there are no background checks on ICE employees; anti-immigration actions are taking funds from cancer and HIV research. Julie explained that most of the monetary aspect of Homeland Security goes through the Office of Management and Budget, and not through the Senate. But the Senator is concerned with the locking up of children and families and the lack of humanity exhibited in these facilities. Harris also sponsored the non-expansion act that would prohibit the expansion of immigration detention and improve oversight of these facilities. The Senator will be flagging Rep. Norma Torres’s H. Amdt. 314 to H.R. 3354, which would prevent the re-allocation of non-immigration detention funds in DHS towards immigration detention, for her immigration team to study.

Climate Change. We inquired about Harris’ approach to controlling greenhouse gases. We pointed out that lower standards are being proposed for Superfund cleanups, which will hurt communities. Julie stated that California is at the forefront of environmental issues, including environmental justice. Among other clean energy proposals, Harris is seeking federal funding for electric buses in rural areas. Climate change will be on the agenda for her next town hall.

Green New Deal. We told Julie that proposals are afloat for a system of public banks or agencies to finance energy infrastructure, which will transform the economy while addressing environmental issues. These banks would be accountable to the people and could be used to give micro-loans for communities and for conservation projects and other projects and endeavors, including the cannabis industry. Julie was very interested and asked us to provide her with good examples of successful programs.

Income Inequality and Taxes. We asked whether Harris supports Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to increase the highest tax rate to 70 percent. Julie acknowledged that taxes need to be reformed, with the goal of getting money into the hands of the people. She noted that the majority of Americans are $500 away from life-changing status (such as homelessness) and that the Senator supports the “Lift the Middle-Class Tax Act,” which will give $500 annually to those who spend more than 30% of their income on rent.

Criminal Justice Reform and First Step. We aired our concerns over some of the terms of the criminal justice reform bill First Step Act, including its reliance on algorithms for predicting recidivism. Harris believes that AG Barr’s oversight of the First Step criminal reform bill will not be a serious concern because she has faith in the career employees at the Department of Justice who will handle most of the hands-on day-to-day administration of First Step. But the senator shares concerns over the recidivism calculations.

Drug Policy. Senator Harris supported the Marijuana Justice Act.  The next step is to help the cannabis industry transition to a fully legal business. Harris supports removing it from Schedule 1 of Controlled Substances. In response to her question to Barr about federal prosecution of users who are not violating state laws, he said he would not prosecute those cases.

Next Town Hall. Senator Harris will announce a Town Hall soon. We will let you know the date as soon as we find out.

 

Leslie A. Burton is a former lawyer and law professor. She is now a traveling professor, teaching Introduction to US Law classes and Legal Writing seminars in law firms and universities around the world.

Bar Barr – Tell Senators to vote against AG nominee

Deadline: ASAP and until the vote – Here we go again: another nominee for Attorney General who thinks the president has unfettered powers, that religion trumps (sorry not sorry) law and that it certainly is more important than the rights of LGBTQ folk, that the Muslim ban is good but abortion rights and criminal defendants’ and prisoners’ rights are not … Ladies and gentlemen and resisters of all ages, the Current Occupant presents: William Barr!

The vote on Barr’s nomination is fast approaching. Senator Kamala Harris has said she will oppose his nomination because “he won’t defend independent investigations from attacks and ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans.” She’s also said she opposes him because he doesn’t “embrace a smart on crime approach to public safety.” We agree. Please thank her, and ask Senator Dianne Feinstein to say the same – and to commit to vote against the nomination. See below for call scripts and contact info.

Some scary facts about Barr:

  • He has publicly criticized Robert Mueller’s investigation, yet during his Senate hearing, he refused to commit to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation. He also refused to commit to make Mueller’s findings public. Biased and secret – the exact opposite of what an Attorney General should be.
  • As organizations concerned with the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of and from religion have pointed out, he has called for constitutional U.S. law to be replaced with “God’s law.”
  • “He believes that Trump cannot be questioned for firing [FBI Director James] Comey in a criminal obstruction probe because presidents always have the discretion to fire an FBI director” – People for the American Way
  • Barr believes in being tough on minor drug offenders and opposes sentencing reform. He’s a big fan of mass incarceration.
  • He recently praised former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “an outstanding attorney general.”
  • Read an excellent summary of his disturbing positions on justice reform, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, reproductive freedom, and more, in this article.

What you can do:

Call your Senators. They are the ones who will vote on the nomination.

Senator Harris has already spoken out against Barr and said she will vote against him. What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Thank you for speaking out against Attorney General nominee William Barr and saying you’ll vote against him. He’s the wrong person for the job, for all the reasons you’ve said – he won’t uphold the law in a way to protect us.

Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 355-9041 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Senator Feinstein has made statements indicating that she doesn’t favor Barr, but as of January 17 she hasn’t said so explicitly and also hasn’t said how she’ll vote. What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please speak out and commit to vote against Attorney General nominee William Barr and saying you’ll vote against him. He’s the wrong person for the job. He won’t uphold the law in a way to protect us.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Spread the word to everyone you know, send them the link to this article, and if they don’t have their Senators’ numbers on speed dial, give them this link.

December 2018 meeting with Feinstein staff

On December 10, 2018, Indivisible East Bay had our first meeting with Senator Feinstein’s new interim state director Peter Muller. We met field representative Abby Ellis in the senator’s San Francisco office and Peter, who is based in Los Angeles, joined us by phone.

While climate change is always a high priority for IEB and usually makes our meeting agendas in some form, it’s rarely at the very top of our memo — mainly because that space is generally filled by a reaction to the latest crisis coming out of the White House. So it was a promising sign of the power shift in DC that we started with a discussion of the Green New Deal (GND). Peter said that while Sen. Feinstein isn’t yet familiar with the details of the Green New Deal proposal, as far as he could tell she’s generally supportive of the program and would invest more time in learning about it once it’s a bit further advanced in the House.

We brought up the plan Feinstein supports to extend certain controversial provisions in the WIIN Act, a water bill which, among other things, diverts water south of the Delta. We shared our concerns that the extension of those provisions could result in harm the Delta ecosystem, but Peter said that Sen. Feinstein’s office has examined the matter carefully and doesn’t believe the provisions have been harmful so far or will become so if extended.

We also talked about asylum seekers at the California-Mexico border and those being detained (along with other immigrants) throughout the state. Sen. Feinstein still wants to visit the detention facilities herself, but doesn’t yet have plans to do so. Meanwhile, her staff has visited every facility in California in which immigrants are detained, as well as some in Texas. But it’s been hard to perform oversight, because the facilities know they are coming and are able to prepare. Sen. Feinstein continues to work on getting legislation ready to pass at the earliest opportunity. (First we need to elect more Democrats.) We asked her to prioritize addressing the seemingly unnecessary “metering” at ports of entry that is causing a humanitarian crisis in which asylum seekers are forced to choose between waiting in overflowing shelters in Mexico — with complete uncertainty about having their claims heard — or attempting dangerous, illegal crossings and turning themselves in at understaffed remote outposts. And meanwhile we asked her to look at ways she could collaborate with the House concerning funding for immigration enforcement, particularly with respect to making sure the executive branch spends the money in the way Congress intended.

We discussed delays in funding transit projects — Sen. Feinstein does her best to advocate for projects in California but doesn’t have much influence otherwise; Attorney General nominee William Barr — she shares our concerns about his civil rights record and biases; judiciary appointments — Republicans are happy with how this is going. so we are likely to see more of the same; and homelessness — she has a bill ready and is looking for a Republican co-sponsor.

Finally, we asked what the senator’s hopes and dreams are for working with our new blue House. Peter listed:

  • Immigration
  • Gun Control – Peter said that Sen. Feinstein saw a strong opportunity for a bump stock ban (which the White House announced only days later)
  • Environment
  • Homelessness
  • Immigration enforcement oversight
  • Appropriations – put more constraints on the administration
  • Health care
  • 2016 election investigation – help her better leverage her position on the Judiciary Committee