Seventh district voters consistently tell me that they want leaders who will work to improve the lives of middle class New Jerseyans, while putting country over party in Washington. Yesterday’s conviction of President Trump’s ex-campaign manager and his lawyer’s guilty plea – on top of what we already know about foreign interference on his behalf – should be a call to action for all patriotic Americans, no matter our partisan loyalties. At the least, it is now clear that the president has surrounded himself with criminality and corruption. It’s not enough to disapprove – whether we remain a nation of laws depends on what Congress now does.
First, Congress must support the law enforcement agencies that are doing their duty in the face of extraordinary pressure. President Trump’s efforts to turn Americans against the Justice Department, the FBI, and Robert Mueller are despicable, dangerous, and should be resisted by everyone who cherishes the rule of law. Members of Congress of both parties should make clear that they will hold the president accountable for any attempt to obstruct the investigation by firing those conducting it, stripping them of security clearances, or misuse of pardons.
Second, Congress must act to safeguard our democracy against corruption and foreign interference. It is past time for Congress to pass legislation to curb the influence of dark money, including from foreign sources, on our politics, to strengthen ethics and lobbying rules, and to secure our elections.
Third, we must elect new Congressional leaders willing to rise above personal and partisan gain to meet their constitutional responsibilities. Republican Leaders in the House of Representatives have been too cowardly, complicit or corrupt to do anything about foreign interference and the mounting evidence of the administration’s corruption. They have aided and abetted Trump’s attacks on the law enforcement and intelligence agencies trying to protect our country, and have promised more of the same. For example, Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Lance’s candidate for the next Speaker of the House, has said that the Mueller investigation “has to stop.” If we want Congress to apply checks and balances, these Republican leaders and their enablers will have to go.
Tom Malinowski was the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and served as a Senior Director on the National Security Council. He has written extensively on the corrupting effects of dark money and how to better secure our elections against foreign interference.