Letter from Senator Thom Tillis regarding Mueller

I received the following letter in response to my calling and writing Republican Senator Thom Tillis to compliment him on his bipartisan  legislation to make sure Robert Mueller is given a fair hearing if he is fired. The letter speaks for itself.

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Thank you for taking the time to contact me about S. 2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

I believe in the rule of law, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party leads the Justice Department. That is why in August I introduced a bill to create a judicial-review process to prevent the removal of a special counsel without good cause.

Over the past several months, Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) and I have been working with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who introduced a similar bill, to reconcile the differences between the two proposals. On April 11, 2018, we introduced the compromise, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act.

Last May, when the Justice Department named former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel, virtually all lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — praised the choice. Mueller has had a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, and he has a well-earned reputation for impartiality. I have confidence that he will follow the facts, wherever they may lead. I also have confidence that he is leading the investigation without bias toward either side of the political spectrum.

Letting his investigation run its course is in the best interest of the country, and it is the only option to ensure that the American people have trust in the process. This is critically important because it means when the investigation concludes, our country can move forward together. Our bill will help ensure that happens.

I have received a good deal of criticism from my own party for introducing special-counsel legislation, with the common refrain being that it is harmful to President Trump. It isn’t, for two main reasons.

First, if the president actually removes the special counsel without good cause, it would likely result in swift, bipartisan backlash and shake the country’s faith in the integrity of our legal system. Talking heads and pundits on television encouraging the president to make such a drastic and counterproductive move most certainly do not have his best interests at heart. The result would not be good for the American people, my own party or the president.

Second, the constant headlines and rumors that President Trump is considering or has considered removing Mueller — “fake news” or not — are a distraction from the president’s agenda and successful policy initiatives. While the president is understandably frustrated with the investigation, I don’t believe he would ultimately remove Mueller, and the White House and the president’s legal team have indicated that he does not intend to do so. This bill becoming law would remove that narrative from the conversation.

Political grandstanding requires no courage — independence and compromise do. The focus needs to be on achieving a legislative outcome, not a talking point. There are members of my conference who want to get to “yes,” and can get there, especially because the bill will be subject to an amendment process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill can be improved. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle who support the bill for the right reasons and want a result will be working hand-in-hand to build consensus and get us closer to 60 votes.

The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act is about protecting the rule of law and producing an outcome that is good for our country. It’s not about producing an outcome for one political party.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to contact me again about other important issues.

Sincerely,

Thom Tillis
U.S. Senator

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A missed opportunity for Democrats

I had a sense around July of 2016, that Hillary Clinton may not win the White House. But, as she distanced herself from Donald Trump due to his relatively horrible debate performance and the Access Hollywood leaked tape, I thought she just might win – then came Comey.

Yet, going back to the summer of 2016, she made a mistake that will haunt her and the rest of the Democrat party. She picked a plain vanilla nice guy to be her running mate. Senator Tim Kaine is a capable public servant, but the initial reaction to her announcement was “who?” The guy I was hoping she would pick would have added sizzle and substance. Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey would have added that sizzle.

Booker is not only an effective speaker, he was an effective Mayor of a major city before becoming a Senator. And, as an African-American, he would have shored up a weakness of Clinton’s, as many African-Americans and others were not too enthused about her and did not vote. Clinton is also a very competent public servant, but she does not exude passion like her husband does and she needed some passion on the ticket.

Yet, mainly Booker represents the future of the Democrat party who is searching for a new Moses to lead them to the promised land. Right now, there are many fine leaders, but the ones who stand out are older sages and may not rev up the base and attract independents and disillusioned Republicans. If you are not familiar with Booker, check him out. He is articulate, smart and knows the issues, three qualities that we need more of. I am not saying he is the only answer, but the opportunity to showcase someone like Booker was there for the taking and passed on.

Rainy Weekend Musings

Being on the east coast of the US, we are getting the rain that is so needed out west with the droughts and forest fires. Blending with other fronts, Hurricane Joaquin is promoting the continual showers, but I am surprised this illegal alien has been allowed to touch our shores given the hateful rhetoric going on in one of our political parties here. I am sure one candidate will ask why did they give it a Spanish name, just as one candidate criticized Former Governor Jeb Bush for answering a question in Spanish that was asked in Spanish.

Seeing the President’s anger and disappointment yesterday with the latest shooting speaks to the feelings of most people in the country, even responsible gun owners. But, our politicians do not care what people think, as they only care about funders like the NRA who makes them wet their pants and skirts. Surveys have shown all Americans, even Republican voters where guns are more sacrosanct, favor better background checks on all gun transactions and extended waiting periods. Neither of these actions take guns away, but are in the right direction. Yes, other actions are needed, but doing nothing is not the answer. Otherwise, our new slogan is “Welcome to America. I hope you are packing heat.”

Vladimir Putin is the best liar on the planet. And, he does not care. He will lie and two days later speak of his real position, but reporters seem reluctant to say that is different from what you said the other day. We are after ISIL he says initially, then when Syrian rebels are bombed that are nowhere near ISIL, his Secretary of State says “a terrorist, is a terrorist, is a terrorist.” Of course, he also said he is all for supporting a government and accuses the US of supporting the rebels. Yet, Mr. Putin, aren’t you supporting the rebels in Ukraine against a government? Truth be told, the effort to be battle extremists needs the support of Russia and others as it is a collective problem. But, I would encourage him to not be too much in bed with someone who has launched chemical weapons on his own people and has killed 200,000 of his countrymen. It is bad optics.

It is invigorating to see the United Nations meet in New York. Leaders tend to behave better even when they speak their mind, which may be at odds with others’ views. That is a great construct that all  leaders are entitled to speak. Coming together can only help find some common ground on issues. Yes, there are disagreements, but seeing the side meetings that occur to address issues is wonderful. And, this year’s festivities had extra gravitas with Pope Francis speaking about global poverty and climate change, two of our biggest problems in the world.

Finally, it was nice to see the US Senate working in a bipartisan manner on important legislation. Senators Cory Booker and Mike Lee led an effort to put forward a bill to significantly address our criminal justice issues and unfairness along with the overcrowding in federal prisons. This effort brought strange bedfellows into the mix and the result is very positive. The Senate will vote on the bill and, if passed, send it to the House, where collaboration has not been as apparent. Let’s hope we see this ray of hope on how governance should be done and listen less to people who just want to pitch a hissy fit in the middle of the theme park, one who thinks this qualifies him to be president.

That is all I have for now. Have a great weekend.