Progressive groups launch new ad campaign using veterans against Trump on Russia

Progressive groups launch new ad campaign using veterans against Trump on Russia
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Two progressive groups have launched an advertising campaign that uses military veterans to highlight what they see as the White House’s insufficient response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The new digital spot by Stand Up America and VoteVets.org, obtained by The Hill ahead of its release, frames President Trump and his administration as cowing to Russia by not holding Russia accountable. 

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“America has always been the shining city on the hill and right now our democracy is under attack from another country,” Bradford Bitting, a sergeant who served two tours in Afghanistan, says at the beginning of the ad

“As the President, it’s expected that you would take any action to try to pursue an investigation with integrity,” says Arturo Flores, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq during his time in the Marine Corps.

“As a veteran, not seeing President Trump openly challenge [Russian President] Vladimir Putin undermines my service,” says Arnie Sisk, a nuclear engineer who served on Naval submarines.

The spot goes on to rehash revelations by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 states could have been targeted by Russian cyber attacks and that Russian-backed Facebook posts had a broad reach during the election, particularly in key swing states.

The spot goes on to rehash revelations by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 states could have been targeted by Russian cyberattacks and that Russian-backed Facebook posts had a broad reach during the election, particularly in key swing states.

The spot, described as a spending commitment in the “high five-figures” will run in 22 states. The list of states includes key 2016 battleground states as well as those named by a report in The Associated Press as having election information targeted by hackers.

If viewers follow the text-message prompts in the ad, they’ll be set up with a Stand Up America representative who will connect them with their senator so they can ask them to support legislation to prevent Trump from firing Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller’s investigation announced indictments last week against two former top Trump campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, as well as a guilty plea for lying to the FBI by former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

Trump and the White House have sought to distance the president from those indictments by arguing that the alleged wrongdoing by Manafort and Gates stemmed from well before their work on the campaign. They’ve also downplayed Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign, framing him as a volunteer.

The president has also repeatedly tweeted that the real potential crimes were committed by the Democrats and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone fundraising off promise not to testify against Trump Rivaling chants of 'USA,' 'lock him up' greet Flynn after sentencing hearing The Hill's 12:30 Report — Flynn awaits sentencing | White House signals it wants to avoid shutdown MORE, telling reporters on Friday that he doesn’t know if he would fire Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPresidential historian: Trump's actions may be 'definition of treason' if he knew about Russian interference efforts Trump admin seeks to roll back Obama-era policy on school discipline: report Trump: Sessions 'should be ashamed of himself' for allowing Russia probe to proceed MORE if the Justice Department does not investigate Clinton.

Both Stand Up America and VoteVets.org have been active advocates on the left in 2017, messaging on issues like health care and veterans issues.