Ethics and Democracy

If Trump Fires Rosenstein, Here’s What You Can Do Next.


The unthinkable could become reality. Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. By firing Rosenstein—Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s boss, the person overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election—Trump is obstructing justice. This means we are facing a full-on threat to our democracy and a constitutional crisis.

After immense public pressure to insulate the investigation from political interference, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to lead an independent investigation. Mueller is a Republican, respected by both sides of the aisle, who previously served as FBI Director under President George W. Bush and also President Obama.

If Trump fires Rosenstein, this is an unacceptable red line, and Trump will have crossed it. Congress must act, immediately.

Senators must “hold up, vote down”: hold up all Senate proceedings by denying all unanimous consent requests, and vote down all Trump nominations, until Trump is held accountable.

BACKGROUND

Federal law treats obstruction of justice as such a serious crime because it attacks one of the cornerstones of our democracy: the rule of law. If obstruction of justice is allowed to go unchecked, the powerful could use their influence to engage in criminal wrongdoing with impunity. At its heart, obstruction of justice is so serious because we believe that no one is above the law, no one can use their power or influence to shut down or to delay a lawful investigation.

No one is above the law, especially not the President of the United States.

As a report in the Lawfare blog notes: “Obstruction of justice formed the first article of impeachment of President Nixon.” In fact, it was obstruction of justice that brought down Nixon, not the actual break-in and burglary of Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices at the Watergate hotel. The “smoking gun” that forced Nixon from office in disgrace was the President’s attempts to have the CIA pressure the FBI to drop its investigations into the Watergate burglary.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from this investigation, Rod Rosenstein was tasked with making sure Mueller’s investigation stayed independent and impartial. If Trump fires him, that’s obstruction of justice and he must be held accountable.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: PRESSURE CONGRESS TO ACT

Most likely, you’ve been ready for this moment. You’ve already planned to mobilize to show Trump that he’s not above the law. If not, click the button bellow to find an event near you.

click here to find a Rapid Response event near you

The Trump is Not Above the Law mass action is Day One. Next up: Day Two and beyond.

There is no excuse for Congress to stay silent during this crisis. As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has a role to play in holding Trump accountable for this obstruction of justice.

Here is what Congress must do next if Trump fires Rosenstein:

  • Hold Up, Vote Down: Every Senator must deny all unanimous consent requests on any legislative business in the Senate, and vote down all Trump nominees UNTIL a special Senate committee is formed to investigate this obstruction of justice.
  • Demand Obstruction of Justice Hearings: Every House Representative must publicly commit to support obstruction of justice hearings as Step One of impeachment proceedings. Click here for a breakdown of what has to happen, step-by-step, for Congress to impeach Trump. The short version: the House has to pass articles of impeachment, and then the Senate holds a trial. It’s likely going to be a long process.
  • Pass the Mueller Protection Bill: Congress must then pass legislation to protect Mueller from being fired. Senators can co-sponsor S. 2644 and Representatives in the House can co-sponsor H.R. 3654.

To signify the urgency and keep up the pressure, Senators must grind Senate business to a halt until the obstruction of justice hearings begins. They can do this by denying “unanimous consent”—something that’s necessary in the Senate to waive the many archaic procedural roadblocks and speed things along.

It only takes one Senator to block unanimous consent. This is a powerful way for Senators to do what’s in their power to show how serious this situation is, and to pressure other Members of Congress to stop shielding Trump from accountability.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN GET YOUR MOC TO DEFEND OUR DEMOCRACY

Immediately mobilize to flood your Members of Congress’ district office with visits and phone calls after Trump fires Rosenstein, insisting that they respond to this crisis with decisive steps to protect our democracy.

REMIND CONGRESS OF THEIR OATH OF OFFICE

Each Member of Congress swore an oath to protect our democracy before taking office. Now is the time to remind them of that.

This is the oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Remind your MoC’s of their promise to protect our democracy.

  1. Go to their offices to meet with them or their staff. If they won’t take a scheduled meeting, show up anyway. If they won’t let you inside, bring a megaphone, your team, and meet on the sidewalk outside the building.
    Click here to Register your District Office Event
  2. Once you’re there, share with the staff your concerns about obstruction of justice, and remind them of the oath your MoC took when their constituents voted them in. In unison, read them this oath of office, reminding them of their obligations.
  3. Ask your MoCs to uphold this oath by holding obstruction of justice hearings.
  4. Record video of the action and upload it to Twitter or Facebook (be sure to tag us so we can amplify you and get your video to the press).
  5. If possible, leave your MoC a poster-sized copy of the Oath behind when you leave, signed by their constituents.

Ask all Members of Congress to publicly support obstruction of justice hearings. Ask your Senators to “hold up, vote down” until this happens.

SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT

Call your MoCs and demand that they take immediate action if Trump fires Rosenstein.

Call your members of Congress Now

For the House:

Caller: Hello, I’m a constituent from [part of state] I’m calling to urge [MoC] to use every tool in the toolbox to restore the rule of law and respond to the constitutional crisis that Trump has caused by firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

Will [MoC] publicly support obstruction of justice hearings, the first step to impeachment?

Staffer: Thank you for your call. [MoC] is monitoring the situation closely.

Caller: That’s not enough, this is a crisis moment and Congress has a responsibility to act. This is an obstruction of justice and Trump must be held accountable. The responsibility to initiate impeachment starts in the House and it is critical for you to defend our democracy and start impeachment, now.

Staffer: We’ll take a look at all options.

Caller: I’ll be following to see if [MoC] acts at this crucial moment. It is Congress’ role to use all available checks and balances to protect our democracy.

For the Senate:

Caller: Hello, I’m a constituent from [part of state] I’m calling to urge [Senator] to use every tool in the toolbox to hold Trump accountable for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. I want to see the Senator grind the Senate to a halt and deny unanimous consent on everything, and vote down all Trump nominees, until obstruction of justice hearings begin.

Staffer: Thank you for your call. [MoC] is monitoring the situation closely.

Caller: That’s not enough, this is a crisis moment and Congress has a responsibility to act. This is an obstruction of justice and Trump must be held accountable. Senators have a unique ability to put roadblocks in place that pressure other Members of Congress to stop covering for Trump and start working for accountability.

Will [he/she] publicly commit to denying UC on everything until the obstruction of justice hearings begin?

Staffer: We’ll take a look at all options.

Caller: I’ll be following to see if [MoC] acts at this crucial moment. It is Congress’ role to use all available checks and balances to protect our democracy.