Senators Wiener and Dodd Introduce Resolution Calling For Congress to Conduct Independent Investigation into Trump-Russia Ties

March 7, 2017

Sacramento  Yesterday Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a resolution in the State Senate calling for Congress to form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate any connections between President Donald Trump and Russia. This includes appointing a special prosecutor to investigate any connection between President Trump’s administration, presidential campaign, or his business empire, and the Russian government or related business interests. SR 23 also calls for President Trump to release his tax returns in order to demonstrate he is free from any potential conflicts of interest related to the Russian government, American foreign policy interests, or economic policy prerogatives.

“Ongoing revelations about the web of connections between the White House and the Kremlin are having a corrosive effect on the American public’s trust in our government,” said Senator Wiener. “President Trump and his administration’s refusal to be transparent about these communications and potential financial connections raises serious questions that demand answers. This is not a partisan issue -- the integrity of our democracy is at stake. Anything short of a full and independent investigation by Congress is an abdication of duty.”

“Safeguarding our democracy from foreign influence is critical to our national security and our future as a beacon of freedom.  Russia’s interference in our elections isn’t a partisan issue, it represents an attack on our sovereignty and way of life,” said Senator Dodd. “The American people deserve a thorough, bipartisan and independent investigation of Russia’s connections with the Trump campaign and their attempts to influence our elections. I am happy to join Senator Weiner to author this resolution, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle send the message to Washington that we must uphold the public trust.”

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, have concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 Presidential election, with the intent to aid Donald Trump. According to both U.S. intelligence agencies and Russian officials, members of the Donald Trump campaign team had regular contact with Russian intelligence officials throughout the campaign.

Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated under oath during his Senate confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, which has been proven not to be true. In addition, multiple Trump campaign and administration officials, including National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and foreign policy adviser Carter Page, resigned their posts after scandals related to their connections with Russia.

Beyond the communications between President Trump’s administration and campaign officials with Russia, Trump has also refused to release his tax returns, breaking forty years of tradition of presidential candidates releasing this information. Without publicly reviewable tax returns, it cannot be determined if there exists any conflict of interest between Trump or his business dealings and the Russian state, or any other foreign government. In addition to the call for the release of his returns in SR 23, Senator Wiener is joining Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) on another bill – SB 149 – which will require that any presidential candidate submit five years of tax returns to appear on the California ballot. SB 149 was introduced in response to President Trump’s refusal to undertake this basic act of transparency.