TUESDAY 5/9/2017


Flynn, Yates, Trump, and Russia Ties

On Monday former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate committee that she warned the Trump administration that former National Security Chief Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia because of conversations he had with a Russian government operative about lifting sanctions on that country. At the same time, it has come to light that President Obama gave a similar warning about Flynn to Trump in their Oval Office meeting shortly after the November election. White House Chief of staff Reince Preibus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer have repeatedly downplayed the meeting between Yates and the White House as a “heads up,” but it seems more like it was a dire warning. What this means is that our President was warned by two top-level officials–one the President of the United States!–that hiring Flynn was a terrible choice, yet he made it anyway.
This decision raises serious questions about Trump’s motivations and objectives. Yates testified that the Russian operative in question was none other than Sergey Kislyak, the same official who met with Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, and Jared Kushner, who have all claimed that these meetings were routine, but who all neglected at some point to disclose these meetings. For how long are we supposed to believe that these meetings were benign? The Russians clearly lobbied to have onerous sanctions lifted, but just what were they offering in return? SInce we now know that Russia interfered with the U.S. election, the question remains: was there a quid pro quo agreement between the Russian officials and the Trump campaign?
During Monday’s hearing, Senator Chuck Grassley tried to make the issue about leaks, even asking Yates directly if she was an unnamed source in news accounts about Russian involvement. This of course echoes the diversion Trump and his Congressional apologists such as House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes have used all along. Every time we see Trump tweeting as he did on Monday (“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers…”) and that same line of argument is echoed by so-called Congressional investigators, we can be sure of one thing: only an independent investigation will ever fully get to the bottom of Trump’s Russia ties and what really happened in the 2016 election.

I am a constituent calling from _________ to urge Rep./Sen. _______ to call for an independent investigation of the Trump team’s ties to Russia. Statements made by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, that she warned Trump that former National Security Chief Michael Flynn was likely the target of Russian blackmail, are deeply troubling. Instead of further investigating this serious issue, some Senators are focusing on how this information is leaking to the press. While problematic, these leaks are irrelevant compared to the possible collusion they expose. Thanks for recording my call.

Senator Richard Burr
Washington, DC: (202) 224-3154
Winston-Salem: (336) 631-5125

Senator Thom Tillis
Washington, DC: (202) 224-6342
High Point: (336) 885-0685

Rep. Virginia Foxx
Clemmons, NC (336) 778-0211
Washington, DC (202) 225-2071

Rep. Ted Budd
Advance, NC (336) 998-1313
Washington, DC (202-225-4531

Rep. Mark Walker
Greensboro, NC (336) 333-5005
Washington, DC (202) 225-3065

Save Net Neutrality:

John Oliver is enlisting his viewers and the public in a campaign to save net neutrality. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we just had this fight three years ago. This time around, however, Trump and his FCC chairman Ajit Pai are all about catering to the whims of huge media corporations. What they want, of course, is to be able to charge higher rates for high speed data streams, leaving small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals the slow lane on the internet. Oliver and many consumer advocates think that big companies shouldn’t be allowed to bully their content across cyberspace. The genius of the digital revolution is that it affords equal access to information to anyone with a modem or a phone. Let’s fight to keep it that way. Below is a link to the FCC comment form. Let’s flood that page today.

Direct link to the FCC comment form: https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom-comments-wc-docket-no-17-108


NC Budget Surplus: Tax Cuts or School Funding? 

North Carolina’s budget surplus has grown to $580 million, due in large measure to draconian cuts in school funding and unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, state GOP lawmakers are promoting what they are calling a “billion dollar tax cut,”  which mostly rewards the wealthy and corporations. Governor Cooper, however, is proposing a badly-needed increase in school funding. The recent debate over HB 13 that pitted small class sizes against arts and PE is a false choice: we can easily afford both. And there is no reason for our teachers to be scraping the bottom of the national pay scale. Republican leaders tout a low corporate tax rate as an incentive for companies to do business here, and while that may be true, a well educated workforce and laws that promote fairness and equality instead of bigoted measures like HB2 are an even better draw.

I am a constituent calling from _________ to urge Rep./Sen. _________ to consider using the huge budget surplus to invest in school funding such as smaller class sizes and increased teacher pay. Thanks for recording my call.

NC Senate

NC House

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