Identifying those Michigan politicians helping Trump to obstruct justice and holding them accountable

Earlier this evening, I took to Facebook as asked if, as far as anyone knew, there existed on online spreadsheet of Michigan’s elected officials, showing whether or not they’d yet to make a public statement about FBI Director Comey’s firing, and, if so, whether or not they supported the idea of an independent investigation. While I got directed to a New York Times list of politicians who had come out in favor of a special prosecutor, which I couldn’t access because I’ve apparently already exceeded my number of free articles this month, and a collection of Twitter posts from politicians assembled by the folks at Vice, no one came forward with a link anything like what I was looking for… a shared spreadsheet that could be updated by several contributors at the same time. Fortunately, though, Scott Trudeau saw my request and put up a Google spreadsheet that several of us then started to feverishly populate with quotes, links, Twitter addresses, phone numbers, and the like. It’s still a work in progress, but I’d appreciate it if you would check it out, and encourage your friends to do the same. Here, to give you an idea, is a little taste. To see the rest of it, just follow that last link.

Perhaps not surprisingly, we discovered that every Democrat representing Michigan, in both the House and Senate, had already come out in favor of an independent investigation into the role Russian operatives played in our last presidential election and whether or not members of the Trump campaign may have colluded with them. What we also found, though, was that some on the Republican side of the aisle seemed at least amenable to the idea of exploring an independent investigation, most notably Representative Justin Amash, who said earlier today that he and his staff were “reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia.” This isn’t of course, to say that Amash, who just voted to kill Obamacare in spite of his apparent misgivings, would do the right thing if it were to come to a vote, but at least there seems to be a bit of an opening. While Michigan’s other Republicans… at least those who had made statements on the subject… didn’t go as far as Amash, their quotes seemed to indicate that they hadn’t yet decided to rule the idea of an independent investigation out. My impression, and I could well be wrong, is that they’re still waiting to see how things shake out, trying, at least for the time being, to be as noncommittal as possible, just saying things like, “The timing of Comey’s dismissal was questionable,” and, “I hope Trump with find a replacement who can carry the investigation forward in a non-partisan manner.”

Given all of this, I can’t help but think there might be an opportunity here to talk with these Republican Representatives, and apply a little pressure. These are, after all, men who already stuck their necks out once for Trump in the last ten days, voting to replace Obamacare with a plan that would leave 24 million people without coverage and cut protections for people with preexisting conditions. I have to think, given this, that some of these folks might be looking for a chance to hedge their bets and show that they aren’t in Trump’s pocket. And a vote for an independent investigation isn’t the same as a vote for impeachment. It’s just a vote to put the politics aside and look at the facts objectively. And, again, one would think, that at least a few of our Republican Reps could be persuaded to at least consider that possibility.

So, if you have a moment, please check out the spreadsheet, and either tweet at, or call, a Rep or two, letting them know that you expect them to support the idea of an independent investigation. Or, better yet, call a local reporter and ask them to reach out to your Representative and get them to comment on the record. If we can’t get their vote now, we can at least get them in print, talking about why it is that they don’t think Russian interference in American electoral politics is worthy of investigation. That, I suspect, could come in handy in 2018.

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20 Comments

  1. stupid hick
    Posted May 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    This is actually pretty easy and requires no analysis beyond checking whether they have an R or a D next to their name. Say, how are you going to punish Upton for betraying you on the AHCA vote? The other Rs need to see there are severe consequences for displeasing Ypsilanti liberals.

  2. Jcp2
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The irony of lamenting the death of real journalism, wanting to read the New York Times, but complaining about the paywall limiting access. Pro tip, clear your cookies in your browser. It resets the free article count.

  3. M
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    One cannot subscribe to every paper, Jcp2, but your point is well taken.

  4. M
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    While I’d like to think that Michigan’s Republican delegation could be persuaded to see the light, I suspect Shaun King is right. These are men who voted not to allow Obama to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. They don’t care about the law, or what’s good for the health of our democracy. They’ve already proven that they’re willing to violate the constitution.

    King:

    “I see a lot of people talking about impeachment this morning. I get it. Donald Trump is a scoundrel. This much is undeniable. His firing of FBI Director James Comey is undoubtedly suspicious. If Twitter polls were how we impeached people, we’d be in a good place right now. Sadly, that’s not how this thing works.

    If you want to dream of Trump’s impeachment, that’s fine, but don’t waste a single second of your time fighting for such a thing right now. This Republican Congress is not going to impeach Donald Trump. They are all in so deep with him that impeaching him would be an indictment on themselves. They helped get him here. These are the same people, mind you, who blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for nearly a year simply because they felt like it — effectively stealing the nominee from him. They don’t have the guts, backbone, will or moral high ground to impeach Trump. They are down in the dirt with him.

    Instead, for those of us who desperately want to defeat Trump, we should put nearly all of our eggs into one essential basket — voter turnout. Let me give you some context for just how dismal voter turnout is right now. This past weekend, France had its lowest voter turnout for a presidential election in a generation. Nearly 75% of voting age adults cast a ballot. That’s down from a turnout of nearly 85% in France just a decade ago.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/king-strategy-defeat-donald-trump-article-1.3153040

  5. Joe M.
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Just open NYT links in an incognito or private tab – unlimited free browsing.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    What shall I say when I call?

  7. stupid hick
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Of course Shaun King is right. No Michigan R is going to be “persuaded” by you or your ilk. How much money did you donate to their pet foundations, that you can threaten to withhold? How many votes did you bring them, that they risk losing if they displease Mark Maynard? How many lucrative speaking and consulting opportunities after they are out of office depend on Mark Maynard’s gratitude? What do you have to bargain with, your vote? If they even know who Mark Maynard is, they know you weren’t going to vote R anyway.

  8. M
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I would argue that they care very much about being voted out of office. The only reason they get those donations and speaking fees is because they’re in power, and we can take that away with our votes. They have to fear us, though. Right now, they don’t.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    stupid hick would like the shame everyone into silence with her cynicism. She would like us all to give up, anything to prove her right. She is right in small parts, but totally wrong in the larger view. One call won’t matter, especially from a liberal non-constituent. But thousands of calls do. What moves politicians is harassment and public embarrassment. They want to be loved and validated more than the average Joe. We need to be an inconvenience and an embarssment.

    We have a president who was a great campaigning politician (v statesman), because, even more so than most politicos, he desperately wants to be popular. That is predominant trait and his weakness. And he has surrounded himself with only people who validate him. Everyone else gets kicked to the curb. He hates our protests. They definitely get to him. It’s very destabilizing to his sense of self. He is publicly dismissive, but methinks he doth twitter protest too much…

    Keep at it folks.

    Let Stupid Hick laugh. Who the fuck cares. Even if it all goes to hell. Do you want to say you did nothing?

  10. Posted May 11, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Some Republicans are locked in enough that it’d be hard to create a credible threat but others are vulnerable; it isn’t uncommon to see big swings in the first mid-term after a new president, and early special elections are showing huge gains for Democrats, even in very red districts.

    Just looking at 2016: http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/house/michigan/

    … I’d say Huizenga (2nd), Moolenaar (4th) and Mitchell (1oth)–the band across the center of the mitten–look pretty insurmountable.

    Bergman (1st; UP & mitten tip) did more poorly than I’d expect; maybe thanks to Traverse City & Marquette? That race was close enough that a really strong challenger could tip it…

    Upton (6th) & Amash (3rd) (southwest mitten) had strong leads but also strong competitors; and they have reputations for being moderate/independent within the GOP but so far have failed to break step, which could trash that reputation and make them vulnerable.

    For our neck of the woods, Trott (11th), Walberg (7th) and Bishop (8th) all had relatively weak wins and could be unseated by a strong competitor; and they’re close to all of us; we can organize our friends in their districts (I have a lot of them), give money & volunteer to help unseat them. They should be scared.

    Depending on how things go, I think we could win 3-6 house seats for Democrats just in Michigan. Democrats only need ~24 to gain a majority (which could then, for example, file articles of impeachment); about 50 races are competitive nationally.

  11. M
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the analysis, Scott. I’m all for taking the fight directly to Trott, Walberg, and Bishop.

  12. M
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    It’s being reported today that Trump’s disapproval ratings are growing even larger.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/more-bad-news-for-trump-his-poll-numbers-hit-new-lows/ar-BBAZyY7

    One has to imagine that, at some point, he becomes toxic to those around him.

  13. It's Working
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Good work, Michigan. Justin Amash just signed onto a bill calling for an independent Russia investigation. Keep calling your other Republican Reps, asking them if they have the courage of Amash.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/lissandravilla/conservative-republican-justin-amash-signs-onto-bill-for-an

  14. Lynne
    Posted May 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    My parents live in Bishop’s district and I am planning on “moving” in with them before the GOP primary for that house seat. I am already working with friends in the district. Our plan is to first support his opponent in the primary (assuming a moderate runs) and then to get behind whichever Democrat runs against him.

    I will say this, badgering Mike Bishop hasn’t changed his votes or his support for Trump. The only way forward is to work hard to get him out. It is a long hill to climb though as district is filled with Trump supporters who,even now, think both Trump and Bishop are doing a good job.

  15. Posted May 11, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    If a few of these special elections in red states go the way of the Democrats, you can be sure that more Republicans will be signing on.

  16. Kyle Griffin‏ by proxy
    Posted May 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Verified account @kylegriffin1

    Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Rod Rosenstein to look into whether a special prosecutor is needed, if Sessions is adhering to his recusal. pic.twitter.com/sDZT4C4AkS

  17. stupid hick
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Jean, I don’t laugh, I weep. All I ask is that you stop yelping while you chase your own tail. Or at least take it off the street where everyone can see you. Mark, you have some local cred, but you are a political neophyte. Stop wasting your time and find a mentor who knows the game, to whom you can offer your service. I’ve seen Andy LaBarre comment here. He used to work for John Dingell. Why don’t you ask someone like him how you can be effective?

  18. stupid hick
    Posted May 14, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    OK, I see I was out of line. You’re good people. It’s not my place to criticize you. I apologize.

  19. Kit
    Posted May 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Schumer: Republicans “choosing party over country” with silence on Russia http://hill.cm/y80hamM

  20. Kit
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    California Congressman Steve Knight is calling for a special prosecutor. Maybe things are shifting.

    https://thinkprogress.org/first-gop-support-special-prosecutor-russia-investigation-ec7a0ceddc26

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