ST. PAUL— Today Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced House File 2668, a resolution calling for the United States Congress to form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate any connections between President Donald Trump and Russia.
“Firing the head of the FBI when your campaign is under investigation doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Representative Mike Freiberg. “The American people deserve the truth about the people leading the United States. Whether you support Republicans, Democrats, or you are in the middle—finding the truth about Russian interference and if there was collusion during the 2016 election is about defending our American democracy.”
This resolution asks Congress to appoint 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. H.F. 2668 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.
On May 9, Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, just days after Comey asked the Department of Justice for additional resources for the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
At a hearing in March of the House Intelligence Committee in Washington D.C., Comey confirmed that there are ongoing investigations into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. During and after this hearing, President Trump, his administration, and some Congressional Republicans continued to spread misleading statements about the investigation, the involvement of members of the Trump campaign and administration, and the leaked information itself.
A few days later, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, shared intelligence information with President Trump regarding investigations involving the President’s associates but did not share this information with members of his own oversight committee. This action by Congressman Nunes led Senator John McCain to call for an independent committee to take over any investigations, stating that Congress no longer has the credibility to handle the investigations into Trump and Russia.
“I would think with so many questions about Trump, Russia and his campaign, his administration would welcome an investigation to put this issue to rest,” said Rep. Freiberg. “But the consistent drip of new information calls for a bipartisan and independent commission to lead an investigation that is free from tampering and outside interference. Anything else will just lead to more questions.”
Law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, have concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 Presidential election, with the intent to aid Trump. According to both U.S. intelligence agencies and Russian officials, members of the Trump campaign team had regular contact with Russian intelligence officials throughout the campaign.
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 false. 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. The Associated Press reported that Manafort has previously been paid millions by a Russian oligarch to promote a pro-Putin and pro-Russian agenda, which contradicts previous assertions by the Trump organization that Manafort never worked for any Russian groups.
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.