Congresswoman Waters Introduces Legislation Urging Investigation of President Trump’s ties to Russia and Cyberattacks
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced legislation demanding that congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election include a thorough review of any collusion between persons associated, formally or informally, with President Donald Trump and the Russian government. In a press conference announcing the legislation with other progressive Members of Congress, Congresswoman Waters delivered the following remarks:
Like so many of you, we have been shaken by events that have occurred over the last 11 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated. We have been shaken by the lies, the deception, and the stunning level of incompetence.
In just under two weeks, Donald Trump has unnerved our allies, challenged our values, and brought so much instability and chaos to our country. This chaos is sure to please at least one person – Vladimir Putin. For everyone Trump is quick to bully, from world leaders to gold star families, to disabled Americans, there seems to be one person on the world’s stage who can do no wrong in Trump’s eyes. A dictator and former KGB agent who armed Assad in Syria as he attacked innocent civilians appears to be the only man that Donald Trump will not disparage.
Given the extensive ties between Russia and individuals associated with Trump, we cannot ignore the possibility that there may have been collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Both during his campaign and since his election, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who have extensive ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
- Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was a paid lobbyist for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician in Ukraine who fled to Russia in 2014 and was subjected to U.S. sanctions related to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Manafort has also been involved in multimillion dollar business deals with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, which were reportedly the subject of an FBI inquiry.
- Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime friend, is reportedly under investigation for possible links with Russia. He has denied ever visiting Russia but admitted he had worked in Ukraine. Stone announced in a speech last summer that he had spoken to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Stone predicted that there would be additional leaked documents, a prediction that came true within weeks.
- Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, did a paid series of events in Moscow, including a speech and appearance at a party for RT, a Kremlin-funded TV station, where he was photographed sitting right next to Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was a business partner of Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch and Putin ally, in a major financial project involving the Bank of Cyprus.
Finally, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, signed a multibillion dollar agreement with Russia in 2011 on behalf of ExxonMobil for an oil drilling project in the Arctic. The project was brought to a halt in 2014 as a result of the sanctions that were imposed on Russia in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Putin personally awarded Tillerson the “Order of Friendship” in 2013.
The financial dealings and alliances in this Trump-Putin circle present obvious conflicts of interest for the Trump Administration, and they are too significant to be ignored.
Why did Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign push for softer language on the Ukraine in the Republican platform last summer? What did Paul Manafort and Roger Stone know about the cyberattacks on their political opponents? Why would Donald Trump deny knowledge of Russian responsibility for hacking even as he encouraged cyberattacks on his political opponent?
We must find out just how involved the Trump campaign was in Russia’s interference in our election. That is why I am introducing a resolution to focus on what Congress must do to thoroughly investigate Trump’s connections with Russia and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the election.
We cannot allow any investigation led by the Republicans in Congress to whitewash Trump’s ties to Russia or avoid examining these critical questions.