Weekly Actions: August 1, 2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

 

ACTION 1: Stand strong against Trump’s attempts to interfere with the Justice Department

 

 

ACTION 2: Speak out against Trump’s explicit support of police brutality

 

 

ACTION 3: Resist the administration’s attempt to curtail LGBTQ civil rights

 


ACTION 1: Stand strong against Trump’s attempts to interfere with the Justice Department

Trump continues to swing away at decorum, decency, democratic norms, and a little thing called the Constitution.
He is now reportedly trying to remove Jeff Sessions and replace him with someone who will fire special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible illegal ties between Trump’s election campaign and Russia. While Sessions is certainly not an Attorney General with an agenda we support, he did recuse himself from the Russia investigation, and as such cannot fire Mueller. If Trump manages to either fire him or bully him into resignation, the president could then force Congress to go into recess and use this period to appoint someone (without Congressional approval) who would not recuse himself from the investigation and would thus be able to do Trump’s bidding. This would mean limiting the scope of the Russia investigation and firing Mueller. While a recess appointment could be blocked if Congress does not go into formal recess but instead holds pro-forma sessions, Trump still technically has a small loophole: If the House refuses to grant Consent to the Senate to adjourn, Trump can cite disagreement between the House and Senate over the adjournment time period and then adjourn them for whatever time period he sees fit. Additionally, even without a forced recess, Trump could potentially use the Casual Vacancies Act to appoint a temporary Attorney General.

 

Trump’s bullying of Sessions is unprecedented and the reasons behind it display deep contempt for the separation of powers in the Constitution. Sally Yates, deputy AG under the Obama administration, (whom Trump fired for objecting to the Muslim ban) argues that this behavior threatens the integrity of the entire Justice Department.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Call your MoCs: Ask that they go on the record with public statements and take on any actions within their power in the service of ensuring that the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation remain fully independent of any White House meddling.

Script (MoCs):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m very concerned about the president’s bullying of the Attorney General and about rumors that he will be replaced during a recess appointment by someone who will fire Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller. I would like Sen./Rep._____ to release a public statement warning against such actions. I’d also like for Sen./Rep. _____ to do everything within his/her power to ensure the President of the United States doesn’t get away with obstruction of justice. The president is clearly trying to overstep his power, and Congress needs to be vigilant in making sure that the Justice Department remains independent and that the checks and balances of the Constitution remain in place.

 

ACTION 2: Speak out against Trump’s explicit support of police brutality

It’s hard to be shocked anymore by what comes out of this president’s mouth–or his twitter account–but last week, he managed to raise (lower?) the bar by encouraging police to be rough with people taken into custody. Perhaps even more disturbing was the cheering from the audience.
When the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful country welcomes violence against protesters and people taken into custody (nevermind innocent until proven guilty), it’s difficult not to contemplate the emergence of full-on American fascism. A fascist state depends on an authoritarian, brutal police force. Also, bear in mind that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has correlated with a strong rise in hate crimes. And we haven’t even mentioned Trump’s remarks against immigrants, Mexicans, and women. Put it all together and a distrubing image begins to emerge.
At a time when the saliency and palpable frequency of police violence and killings, especially against communities of color, is such a huge issue facing our communities, the president actually has the nerve to call for more violence, not less. Something needs to be done. Let’s tell our local police departments to work on curbing police brutality, not exacerbating it.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

 

ACTION 3: Resist the administration’s attempt to curtail LGBTQ civil rights

There were two threats to LGBTQ rights this week:

 

The pushback against the transgender ban has been welcome, with many Republican Senators, including John McCain and Orrin Hatch, supporting the right of transgender individuals to serve in the military. US Defense Chiefs have also said they will not make any changes until an official directive is issued.
However, there has been little public reaction from lawmakers against the DOJ amicus brief. Currently, Title VII explicitly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, but is less clear about sexual orientation. This is is something that Congress can and should fix now.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Call your MoCs: Ask them to sponsor or cosponsor legislation that would revise Title VII to ensure that its language explicitly prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Script (MoCs):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m very disturbed about the president’s latest attacks on the LGBTQ community, despite candidate Trump’s campaign promise to support amending the Civil Rights Act to explicitly include protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I would like Sen./Rep. _____ to support legislation that explicitly amends the language in Title VII to make sure that LGBTQ individuals are fully protected against discrimination.
Furthermore, I am strongly opposed to the president’s call for a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Though the president alleged that a high cost for transgender medical services had some effect on his decision, in fact, the military spends 5x more on just Viagra. Regardless, civil rights are simply not something we can put a price tag on. I ask that Sen./Rep. _____ publicly condemn any legal attacks on the LGBTQ community and use his/her position of power to work for full rights, recognition, and acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in our diverse country.


 

The most effective thing you can do is to pick up the phone, but if you’re short on time, you can leave your MoC a message below.