Family Research Council

Counsel of the Why's in Washington

May 18, 2017

With only an hour's notice, Deputy Attorney General of Justice Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller III as special counsel for the Russian investigation, given political blowback over President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein stated that his decision was not the result of any findings that crimes had been committed or any prosecution warranted, but rather due to the unique situation and that he felt that the public interest warranted a special prosecutor outside the normal FBI chain of command. The WSJ responded by calling it the "Special Counsel Mistake," arguing that Rosenstein caved to the political pressure from Democrats giving them the ability to "bedevil" the Trump administration possibly for the next four years.

President Donald Trump issued a short response late yesterday, saying: "There was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly."

The explosion in the media, particularly the leftist "mainstream" media, should be no surprise, as talk of impeachment is already being bandied about -- even though not a shred of evidence that a crime was committed on the part of the embattled president has been produced. Congress, of course, continues to want Comey to testify in their ongoing investigations into Russia's influence on the election due to Michael Flynn's admission that he had lied to Vice President Pence about having had contact with Russians.

While investigation into any wrongdoing must be taken seriously, jumping to conclusions as so many Democrats have over the firing of Comey (do they not remember that only a few months ago many of them called for Comey's ouster?) is entirely and purely political. Speaker Ryan offered the right approach to this situation. While welcoming Robert Mueller as special counsel, he urged that ongoing investigations should "follow the facts wherever they may lead," and reiterated his confidence in the president. It's entirely presumptuous to talk of impeachment, as even two House Republicans Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) did. Democrat leaders such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who is the lead Democrat on the House intelligence committee investigation and no friend to the administration -- ironically has called for Democrats not to "rush" to talk about impeachment. That had little effect on members like as Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who spoke on the House floor of the need to impeach the president.

John Adams reminded us that facts are stubborn things, and a clear uncovering of facts in various investigations from the Clinton emails and server to Michael Flynn's admitted connections to Russia, and any effort to obstruct justice must be pursued and prosecuted, if that is what the facts demand.

As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) observed, we should always welcome examinations into facts and truth. Only those who don't want the truth have reason to fear such investigations. As Chairman Goodlatte also noted, perhaps the previous administration should have taken similar matters seriously enough to ensure they were independently investigated.

Regardless of this special counsel appointment, I am confident that the Left will continue its apoplectic and irrational pursuit to undermine the president's pro-American agenda at any cost -- facts be damned. Robert Mueller is a respected former FBI director who served under President George W. Bush and even President Barack Obama. His challenge is daunting. Not only must he seek just the facts, he must ignore the political missiles being lobbed by anyone who doesn't like what the truth reveals about President Trump. He must also be thorough, but expeditious in completing the investigation so as not to become a tool of the Left to further hinder and hamper the change Americans demanded in November.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

U.S. Embassy Raises a Different Flag

May 18, 2017

Yesterday, the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia posted this on Twitter: "We're flying the rainbow flag today to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, & Biphobia." This kind of activism is hardly likely to endear our country to the Macedonians. The former Yugoslav republic is facing a political crisis in the wake of scandal, a refugee crisis as a transit point for those fleeing the Middle East for Europe, and an economic crisis, with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (over 20 percent).

It also faces internal divisions between the mostly Orthodox Macedonian majority and a mostly Muslim Albanian minority. One thing they have in common, however, is opposition to the radical sexual agenda of LGBT activists. According to a 2015 poll, 89 percent of Macedonians oppose redefining marriage for the benefit of homosexual couples -- which is probably why their legislative assembly voted 72-4 to amend the nation's constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In another poll, 78 percent said they would oppose a political party that promoted "LGBTI rights." Even 55 percent of the LGBTI population in Macedonia opposes "gay pride" events. Most of the Balkans and Eastern Europe feel the same way, which is one reason why FRC's Travis Weber and Peter Sprigg will be traveling next week to Budapest, Hungary to meet with international pro-family activists at the World Congress of Families.

I had assumed the Macedonian embassy was an outlier among U.S. diplomats, until I checked the State Department's main website and found the lead article there was highlighting "LGBT Rights and Public Service," in a blog post by the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam -- who identifies as gay. The Obama administration's promotion of this agenda abroad reflected woefully misguided priorities -- and the New York Times admitted it might be doing more harm than good, even to the people it was supposed to help. It is time for President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to put a stop to the use of taxpayer dollars for this kind of left-wing activism, and focus on more urgent needs in our foreign policy.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Meeting Expectations in the Nation's Capital

May 18, 2017

Key members of the FRC team were in attendance today as conservative leaders from dozens of organizations, along with various members of the Trump administration, met outside of Washington, D.C. to review the accomplishments of the Trump administration's first 100 days and map out the next 100 days and beyond. Joining me from FRC were General Boykin and Ken Blackwell. General Boykin led a panel discussion on foreign policy and national security issues, which highlighted America's new decisive leadership as already seen in Syria, Afghanistan, and now in North Korea. There was a bit of conflation between the General's panel and a panel that I led along with Ken on preserving and protecting our culture, as we pointed to the military as one of the areas where the Trump administration must be intentional in rooting out the social policies imposed by the Obama administration. While there remains a lot to do, there are several objectives that have been reached: the reinstatement of an advanced Mexico City Policy, defunding of Planned Parenthood, the repeal of Obamacare, the rescinding of several Obama-era executive orders, and the implementation of new executive orders, like the one protecting and promoting religious freedom.

Meetings like this are not the only places where FRC is making an impact. This week, George Barna's American Culture and Faith Institute released results of its survey of Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged conservative Christians (SAGE Cons) about organizations that they believe made the most positive impact on American society during 2016. Out of the five dozen organizations presented to SAGE Cons in the national poll, FRC ranked sixth, just ahead of Fox News!

This is a testament to our supporters who are serious about bringing biblically-informed change to an America that too-often turns its back on our Creator. Without your support, we wouldn't be positioned to do what we do. If you'd like to be a part of increasing FRC's reach even further, consider joining our team of supporters.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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