Congressional representatives from both the East and West coasts joined forces today to call for a bribery investigation of NRA leader Wayne La Pierre after he allegedly offered to support Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign if the president would “‘stop the games’ with gun legislation and cease pursuing new gun control measures.”
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) — both former prosecutors — authored a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and posted on Rep. Lieu’s website that expressed their “serious concerns regarding a September 27 meeting” between the increasingly beleaguered president and the CEO of the gun manufacturers’ lobbying organization and whether the NRA chief’s discussions with Trump amounted to attempted bribery.
According to the letter from the two Democratic representatives:
“During the meeting, which was first reported by the New York Times, it is alleged that Mr. LaPierre and President Trump discussed gun control legislation and the potential for the N.R.A. to provide support to the President as he faces an impeachment inquiry in the House. The New York Times reported that the Mr. LaPierre offered such support if the President would “stop the games” with gun legislation and cease pursuing new gun control measures.”
“As former prosecutors, we are deeply troubled that Mr. LaPierre discussed with the President these two subjects in the same conversation. Depending on what exactly was said, it would either be massively inappropriate or an attempt at bribery, which is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. 201 (b). In executing its “top criminal investigative priority” of combatting public corruption, we believe the FBI has a duty to swiftly examine this potentially illegal behavior.”
While in a normal administration such a request would be expected to be the type of shocking scandal that could potentially bring down both the corrupt lobbyist attempting to influence the president’s decision making through financial and political support and the recipient of such illegal transactional “favors,” in the Trump administration it was just another Wednesday.
It will be interesting to see how FBI Director Wray responds to the legislators’ letter requesting an investigation of the matter.
Given the fate of two of his FBI predecessors, former Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who were both ousted after placing their duties as independent investigators and enforcers of the law — no matter how high up in the governmental echelon the target of their inquiries was situated — above their loyalties to Donald Trump.
Director Wray’s handling of Reps. Lieu and Rice’s referred complaint will demonstrate whether the FBI has joined the rest of Attorney General Barr’s Justice Department in submitting completely to the will of a president for whom they would surely be preparing multiple indictments were he not sitting in the White House.
What will be even more telling will be the president’s own actions once the inevitable next mass shooting takes place and resurrects the public outcry for the Senate to act on common-sense gun regulations that have already been passed by the House of Representatives and await Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) permission to be considered by the Senate.
McConnell has repeatedly stated that he will refuse to bring the House legislation to the floor of the Senate unless he receives assurances that President Trump will sign the final bill emerging from the House-Senate conference committee that will need to reconcile the two chambers’ versions of whatever legislation ultimately is passed.
If Trump backs off his previous endorsement of strengthened background checks, check the donation records for his campaign to see how much has flowed in from the coffers of the financially struggling NRA.
All the proof you need to investigate the allegations by Representatives Rice and Lieu will be sitting right there.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by Sky Palma at RawStory.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.