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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2020

Contact: Jake Oliver, [email protected], (347) 361-9983

(New York, NY)— Randy Mastro has issued the following statement on behalf of Citizens Union on recent events in Washington:

It was Ben Franklin who, upon departing the Constitutional Convention in 1787, described our government as “a republic if you can keep it.” 

A cornerstone of our republic has always been a justice system committed to fairness, honesty and integrity. The rule of law is only as strong as the dedicated men and women who enforce it on our behalf in the U.S. Justice Department. But now, their work is under political attack by a President who thinks it appropriate to call for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his political allies. If we are to keep our republic, this latest affront to our democracy cannot go unchecked and unchallenged. 

Why does this matter so much to Citizens Union, which once again finds itself having to speak out about recent events unfolding in Washington? Because the ramifications of this latest turn extend far beyond federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia, some of whom have already resigned in protest. It also reaches the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, where public corruption investigations of Donald Trump’s confidantes and counsel continue to unfold. The Justice Department’s independence and dedication to doing the right thing can never be compromised.  

President Trump apparently knows no bounds. Even after his Attorney General said last week that the President’s tweets are making it “impossible” for him to do his job, Trump responded in yet another tweet that he has the “legal right” to intervene in Justice Department investigations involving his political friends and foes. But the President is missing the point. It is wrong for him to do so, because this compromises the integrity of our justice system and undermines public confidence in prosecutorial decision-making. The Attorney General surely understands this and needs to say so now to restore the public’s trust, or else the ranks of former federal prosecutors calling for his resignation — now 2,000 strong — will only continue to grow. It is incumbent on all of us to push back and support the dedicated public officials who continue to enforce our laws fairly and impartially. We must demand that the President let federal prosecutors do their jobs independently, honestly and free of political influence, and if prevented from doing so, denounce it and shine a bright light on any perversion of justice for political ends. 

We didn’t pick this fight. The President did. Ours is a republic of laws. Our republic is now under attack. We want to keep it, so this is a fight worth having.

For follow up, please contact Jake Oliver at Anat Gerstein, Inc. at [email protected] or 347-361-9983

About Citizens Union
For 120 years, Citizens Union (CU) has been a force for transparency, accountability and ethics in New York’s City and State governments. A nonpartisan organization, some of our current initiatives include increased voter participation and civic engagement, greater police accountability, and an accurate 2020 census. Learn more at www.citizensunion.org.

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