WESTFIELD, NJ – Protestors took to the sidewalk in front of Congressman Leonard Lance’s offices in Westfield and Flemington Tuesday to demand an investigation into President Trump’s ties with Russia.
The protests follow Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the Washington Post story that said the President shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, according to U.S. officials.
“We are outraged that Leonard Lance hasn’t made a statement, hasn’t asked for a special prosecutor, hasn’t asked for a bipartisan independent commission to investigate Trump ties,” protest co-organizer Marci Bandelli said. “He’s been fairly silent and now, with the situation yesterday, there’s nothing. Crickets. This man does not represent his constituents.”
Outside the office, protestors chanted “We persist to resist” and “Enough is enough.”
Lance was not in his office as he is currently in Washington, D.C., according to his office staff.
“I have concerns that Donald Trump is inept and unfit to be President,” college student Andrew Stockwell said. “I think he scares me. Having worked with classified information myself [Stockwell previously worked for General Dynamics Electric Boat], if I had done what he did yesterday I would be in jail right now.”
Stockwell’s mother, Sharon, protested along with many fellow members of the Westfield 20/20 organization, a citizen’s action group that formed in town shortly after the election to voice concerns regarding Trump.
Following protests this winter, Lance was one of 20 Republicans to vote “no” on the May 4 vote for the American Health Care Act, which passed in the House of Representatives but faces approval by the Senate.
“I feel like Lance is feeling pressure from his constituents,” Lillian Duggan, co-organizer of the protest, said. “I don’t feel he’s accurately representing the people here right now who want a thorough, bipartisan investigation.”
Tuesday evening, Lance released this statement via his Deputy Chief of Staff, John Byers:
“As a member of Congress I have access to classified information. Protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount. Divulging classified or controlled information to our adversaries endangers our national security. It jeopardizes diplomatic relations with our allies and threatens the safety and security of our troops in the field.
“National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who participated in the Oval Office meeting, has impeccable credentials and an unblemished reputation so I take Lt. General McMaster at his word when he says ‘at no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.’
“I, however, request that he, CIA Director Pompeo, Secretary of State Tillerson and Deputy National Security Adviser Powell brief Congress further on the issue immediately. Lawmakers deserve a fuller accounting of what was divulged in the Oval Office conversations with Russian diplomats. Now more than ever it is essential that the two bipartisan congressional investigations and the U.S. Department of Justice investigation move forward and that the Administration cooperates fully in their efforts.”