Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rep. Ted Lieu uses wit and social media to fight Trump

Rep. Ted Lieu
ONE OF the most persistent and harshest critics of President Trump and his administration has been Rep. Ted W. Lieu, D-Los Angeles.

Lieu issued the following statement regarding the possible collusion between President Trump’s aides and the Russian government.

“I am stunned to learn that Trump aides, including campaign manager Paul Manafort and advisor Michael Flynn, allegedly had repeated contacts with Russian Intelligence agents during the presidential campaign," said Lieu, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. "It's a safe bet to say they weren't discussing the weather.”

“If there was collusion between Trump aides and the Russian government, that would be a high crime. It also raises a number of critical issues. What did Trump know and when did he know it? Did Trump authorize or order the repeated contacts with Russian Intelligence during the presidential campaign? What are Trump's business holdings in Russia or Russian-controlled areas?”

“I call on Republicans in both the House and the Senate to put country over party--to put America First--and work with Democrats to investigate these extremely serious allegations."

GOP leaders in Congress have not shown any inclination to launch a probe of an episode some have compared to Watergate in its scale and possible ramifications.

What troubles Lieu is that the White House apparently knew for weeks from a Department of Justice report that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail, yet President Trump kept him on. Prior to Flynn's departure, Senior White House official Kellyanne Conway stated that President Trump had full confidence in Flynn. "If nine US officials did not leak their concerns to the Washington Post,"said Lieu, "Michael Flynn may still be the US National Security Advisor.

"There is more to this story. What did President Trump know and when did he know it? What did Vice President Pence know and when did he know it?"

Of all the AAPI lawmakers in Washington, Lieu may be the most outspoken. He was among the first to refuse to attend President Trump's Inauguration.

Lieu, who represents western L.A. and including the beach communities of L.A. County, also has a wicked sense of humor that he often displays on his social media.

“Sometimes the best way to respond to crazy is with satire,” Lieu said in a Los Angeles Times interview. “Never before have I had this feeling where our leader is potentially unhinged and has a problem with the truth, and that is highly disturbing for the leader of the free world. So I’ve decided I’m just going to point that out as much as I can.”

He's been unrelenting. Today (Feb. 16) Lieu and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, released a resource guide for federal employees who wish to break the Administration’s communications blackout on federal agencies. 

The guide explains how to safely and responsibly share information, and encourages employees to "Know Your Rights" and "Know Your Options." In the "Know Your Rights" section, federal employees can learn about which federal laws apply to them. In the "Know Your Options" section, employees can learn about how to safely disseminate information to agency inspectors general and the press. The resource guide also includes links to an in-depth list of federal whistleblower statutes and information about agency inspectors general.

“We believe the American people have a right to know how their government works," said Lieu. 

"The Trump administration has strapped a muzzle on federal agencies and attacked legitimate whistleblowers. Should federal employees wish to break that silence, we want this to be a resource for the safe and responsible disclosure of information."

We're not sure that Lieu's efforts have the White House's attention, but Lieu said he's “absolutely” hoping Trump will respond.