Trump has nominated lawyer Brian Benczkowski to fill the vacant Assistant Attorney General position, a role that would have him oversee the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
Though Benczkowski is a well-regarded lawyer in conservative circles, he comes with a few troubling caveats. First and foremost, he has absolutely no prosecutorial or criminal justice experience – his experience was mostly in litigation and defense for white collar crime. He was once a staffer for AG Jeff Sessions… but that seems to be the extent of his qualifications for the position.
Furthermore, Benczkowski worked for the Trump campaign during its transition period, even though prior to the inauguration he also worked at a law firm that represented Alfa Bank, a Russian bank that is being federally investigated for potential connections between its servers and the Trump Organization.
As head of the Criminal Division, Benczkowski could sit in on meetings with Mueller's team regarding the ongoing Trump-Russia probe. He could become a back-channel source of information between the investigation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions—or beyond.
***BONUS CALL: While you have your Senators on the phone, ask that they push for an immediate relief package for both Puerto Rico AND the U.S. Virgin Islands, which we've often left out of our calls but is still suffering as much as Puerto Rico.***
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Kennedy and Cassidy
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC Office: 202-224-5824; Metairie office: 504-838-0130; Monroe: 318-324-2111; Lake Charles: 337-493-5398; Alexandria: 318-448-7176
Senator John Kennedy - DC office: 202-224-4623; New Orleans: 504-581-6190; Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; Shreveport: (318) 670-5192
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise – the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer – they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal – call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to urge the Senator to vote against the confirmation of Brian Benczkowski as Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. He has no experience with prosecution or with criminal justice and the Department of Justice. He also has ties to Alfa Bank, which has ties to Putin and possibly even to the Trump Campaign. We need someone with demonstrated qualifications for this position and without any troubling conflicts of interest.
Thank you for your time and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.