On the eve of former FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, House Democrats and representatives from 19 political organizations assembled at Capitol Hill on Wednesday, urging Congress to support a petition to create an independent commission to investigate President Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties to the Russian government.
The groups said their petition has amassed more than four million signatures.
“Our country is facing the most dangerous period in a long time,” said Bob Leventhal, a volunteer Common Cause, a left-leaning government watchdog group. “The dangers his administration present to the future of this country are so numerous and precarious.”
House Representatives Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., introduced legislation in December that would create a bipartisan commission tasked with interviewing witnesses, obtaining documents and receiving public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government to interfere with last November’s election.
Swalwell criticized his Republican colleagues for what he said was their unwillingness to act despite evidence the Russian government carried out an interference campaign to influence the election results.
“They sought to help a candidate they preferred in Donald Trump,” Swalwell said at the event. “They will be successful in 2018 … if we continue to allow Republican leadership to bury their heads in the sand and allow our democracy to be taken over by a foreign adversary.”
Much of the event also focused on Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns, which he says are still under audit. Protesters believe that Trump’s secret business dealings might relate to his potential ties to Russian government.
Holding a sign that read “TrumpCare = Oxymoron,” District of Columbia native Skip Strobel, 66, said he doesn’t care about Trump’s relationship with Russia but is insistent that he release his tax returns.
“It’s common sense,” Strobel said. “You want to know what your president’s worth is.”
This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the purpose of Common Cause.
Katishi Maake: @KatishiMaake