In Helsinki Summit Wake, Common Cause Urges Congress to Check Russia & Safeguard Election Systems

In the wake of the irresponsible and dangerous conduct of President Donald Trump at the Helsinki Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Common Cause today called on Congress to take concrete steps to check Russian aggression and safeguard our election systems.

In letters to the full House and Senate, Common Cause urged both houses to strengthen and implement sanctions against Russia, pass a resolution condemning the President’s actions at the Helsinki Summit, convene public hearings to determine what transpired at the summit, and demand that he release his taxes in part to reveal possible links between his business dealings and his stance as a Russian apologist.

The letter further calls on Members to pass legislation to safeguard the integrity and independence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, work to secure the extradition of Russian intelligence officers indicted last week, and also take action to strengthen the resiliency of state election infrastructure through expertise and funding.

Even after a fumbling attempt to walk back his conduct and comments to the media in Helsinki, President Trump yesterday told reporters that Russia is not targeting the U.S. elections despite clear and conclusive warnings from U.S. Intelligence agencies that the attacks are continuing unabated.

“The President’s refusal to recognize the ongoing danger posed by Russia represents a clear threat to our nation’s security and we are calling on Congress to step into the breach,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “If it was not abundantly clear previously, the last several days have shown clearly that President Trump is refusing to perform his sworn duty to protect the nation’s security. This crisis represents a test for members of the House and Senate and voters are watching carefully. Americans expect and deserve representatives in Washington who put their country before their party.”

Specifically, the letter urges Congress to move swiftly to take the following actions:

  • Pass a resolution strongly condemning President Trump’s actions in Helsinki.


  • Strengthen and implement sanctions against Russia for their efforts to undermine democracy, including interference and hacking in our elections. We are pleased to see bipartisan dialogue on sanctions in just the past few days and urge you to convert the conversation into action.


  • Convene immediate public hearings on what transpired between President Trump and President Putin last week, including the closed-door one-on-one meeting, the preparation that led to the Summit, and the fallout afterwards.


  • Pass the bipartisan Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (S. 2644) and go firmly on record supporting the independence and integrity of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. We commend the strong bipartisan vote of this bill out of the Judiciary Committee in April.


  • Demand that the president release his tax returns to help determine, in part, why the president attacked our NATO and European Union allies and aligns himself with Vladimir Putin.


  • Do everything in your power to urge the extradition of Russian intelligence officers indicted for hacking our elections, stealing documents, and disseminating the materials.


  • Strengthen the resiliency of state election infrastructure with necessary funding for states to institute sound cybersecurity protocols, voter-verifiable paper ballots, and risk-limiting audits to check election outcomes. The $380 million in the omnibus spending bill earlier this year was an important down payment, but there is more to fund.

To read the Senate letter, click here.

To read the House letter, click here.