E-Newsletter: Keeping the Russia Investigation Independent and Impartial

Jun 23, 2017

Keeping the Russia Investigation Independent and Impartial

Following a recent briefing by Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rod Rosenstein about the Special Counsel appointed to investigate possible coordination between Russia and the Trump Campaign, I sent a letter to the DAG requesting that he publicly clarify the scope and authority given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the investigation. I want to know what limitations are there, if any, that have been placed on the Special Counsel's ability to fully and independently conduct the investigation.

When special counsels have been appointed in the past, such as Patrick Fitzgerald who was appointed by then Deputy Attorney General James Comey in 2003 to investigate the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as an undercover CIA agent, they were appointed under different legal authorities than the current Special Counsel. Mr. Fitzgerald’s Special Counsel status was given “all the authority of the Attorney General” with respect to that investigation, while Mr. Mueller’s status was made pursuant to 28 CFR Part 600, delegating “the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” My letter points out this disparity and questions the Special Counsel has sufficient independence.

Ensuring Mr. Mueller has sufficient authority to investigate this matter takes on extra significance in light of recent reports that the White House considered, what I believe, could be construed as, twisting the intent of certain ethics rules as a means of limiting the Russia investigation. I believe it is of vital importance for Mr. Rosenstein to explain how he intends to exercise this authority to supervise Mr. Mueller’s activities and let the investigation proceed in an independent, impartial manner. Without such an investigation, we will never get to the bottom of the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Click here to read the full letter.

Helping New Yorkers Rebuild by Expanding FEMA Disaster Assistance Eligibility to Condos and Co-ops

Following Superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of New Yorkers who resided in condominiums and co-ops were stunned to learn that they were ineligible for FEMA assistance due to the type of home in which they lived. This was unacceptable and I am proud to announce that my bill addressing the issue, the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017, recently passed through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and will shortly make its way to the full House of Representatives.

After Sandy, thousands of families returned home to find, due to a legal technicality in FEMA’s eligibility rules for disaster assistance, that they had no way to fully restore their homes to habitable condition. For example, seniors in high-rise condo buildings could get assistance to repair their floors and repaint their walls but nothing to fix the elevators they needed to reach their units. My bill directs FEMA to not only better prepare co-ops to manage the after effects of a natural disaster, but also to propose a framework through which it can revise its eligibility requirements for disaster assistance so as to fully incorporate condos and co-ops.

For many, the path to recovery from Superstorm Sandy was far longer and more arduous than it should have been. I am heartened to know that in the aftermath of any future disaster, all homeowners - regardless of what type of home they live in - will be able to turn to FEMA and know that they will receive the resources and support they deserve.


Jerrold Nadler