Many of you may be aware that Jeff Sessions—Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General– displays a willful blindness’ on voting rights , civil rights, conflict of interest laws, and on the fact that a foreign adversary interfered in our democratic elections to get a billionaire con man elected. He should absolutely not have been nominated for Attorney General, and the fact that he may be confirmed by the Senate poses a serious threat to the future of our democracy. With Trump’s pernicious, debunked, racist claim of “massive voter fraud”. Sessions will be directed to suppress votes on a massive scale. It’s that bad.
Most of you are also probably aware that President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates Monday night for defying the President’s un-Constitutional and ludicrous executive order, entitled “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES”. The order bans 12% of the world’s Muslims from entering the country, so while many refer to it as “a travel ban” or an “immigration ban”, I refer to it as a “Muslim ban”, because that’s what it is.
The order was authored by Steve Bannon with no oversight or input from the counterintelligence community, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, or any other regulatory body. Bannon is a white supremacist who has usurped his way to a massively influential role on the National Security Council and provides the philosophical underpinning for this regime. The aim of this executive order is to incite further Islamophobia and discrimination. It’s being sold to the Republican base, unconvincingly, under the guise of “strengthening national security”. This is a farcical lie.
Yates was a holdover from the Obama administration, and while Trump’s ban is morally outrageous and unconstitutional, it’s unsurprising that Trump made this move and installed an acting AG who would sign off on the order.
In this context, it is even more important that all efforts possible be made for the Senate to either a) stop the nomination of Jeff Sessions, or b) call for a delay and that a new confirmation hearing be held in light of this executive order.
The Muslim ban violates the Constitution, and it will be the attorney general’s job to tell the President when he is breaking the law. This is already happening of course, as President Trump is clearly in violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution and is using the office of the Presidency for personal enrichment and accepting bribes on a massive scale. It’s the kind of overt corruption we’d expect from a third-world strongman, not the President of the United States, but here we are.
The Attorney General is the highest sitting judge who can sign FISA warrants, which would mean that if Sessions is confirmed the investigation into Russian interference in our election will most likely just go away.
Making matters worse is the fact that both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sold their souls for a seat at Trump’s table. We don’t need to rehash that here. These Senators and (their Republican counterparts in the House of Representatives) are happy to parrot their approval for this administration’s policies, no matter how racist, needless and un-American that policy may be. Needless to say, these are not friends of the cause.
I’m going to argue that even though that may be true, we need to DOUBLE DOWN here in Texas. Here’s what I propose:
1. Text your ZIP code to 520-200-2223 and you’ll get a text back with their district and DC office numbers, so you can keep them on speed dial.
2. Focus your energy on calling Senate staffers and voicing your opposition for now, at least until we know what’s happening with the Sessions confirmation vote. Call your senators’ offices and demand that they oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. If it’s busy or they duck calls, keep trying.
3. Remind the Senate staffers millions of American voters will NEVER forget that they took this position, and that history will not judge them kindly.
4. Talk to 4 people a day about what’s happening to our democratic norms. Let those folks know that this is not Republican vs Democrat–this is a fight for the soul of our country.
5. Contact your Representatives. Remind the staffers that the huge majority of American voters did not vote for Donald Trump, and that even more voters than that have now been electrified by the sheer injustice of Donald Trump’s executive orders. Senate and congressional staffers get paid pretty well. If they and their bosses want to keep their jobs and their perks, the only possible remedy for us is to publicly denounce Jeff Sessions as a pick for Attorney General.
6. Show your support for Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He’s in Washington now, participating in active protests and . Let him know we’ve got his back. He needs to hear that we support obstruction and filibuster. Conciliation is over. The goal is to throw sand in the gears of everything at every turn.
7. Reach out to Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s staff. He has intimated that he may challenge Ted Cruz for his seat in 2018. If that’s the case, remain open to ideas for how best to to remove Cruz from office.
8. Use Open Secrets. It’s time for these guys to know that we know how much money they’re getting, and from whom.
These are the Representatives in the house who (thanks to gerrymandering) represent Austin.
10th District: Michael McCaul
17th District: Bill Flores
21st District: Lamar Smith
25th District: Roger Williams
35th District: Lloyd Doggett
Finally, here’s a tool that 538 is using to track how Representatives and Congress members are falling in line with Trump: