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July 26, 2018

Leading Democrats Call for Top Trump Administration Officials to Testify on Election Security

(WASHINGTON) - In a new letter today, top Democrats called for a joint hearing on election security to investigate the threats facing elections in 2018 and the Trump administration’s plan to secure our elections from foreign interference.

The letter, from Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), and Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), notes that despite equivocations from the White House with respect to Russian involvement in the interference into our elections in 2016, the U.S. Intelligence Community – including top officials in the Trump administration – have clearly reiterated that Russia interfered with our elections in 2016 and continues to target the 2018 elections.

The Republican Congress has done little to defend against and counter the threat of Russian election interference. Earlier this month, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats sounded the alarm on growing cyberattack threats against the United States, saying the “the warning lights are blinking red.” But just last week, House Republicans ignored his warning and rejected a proposal to fund elections security efforts at the state and local levels.

Since then -- just this week -- 21 state Attorneys General sent a bipartisan letter imploring Congress to provide additional funding to secure state election systems.  They warned about the “grave concern over the threat to the integrity of the American election system.”  They also made clear the need for Congress to act now: “We are concerned that many states lack the resources and tools they need to protect the polls.  Additional funding for voting infrastructure will not only allow states to upgrade election systems, but will also allow for a comprehensive security risk assessment.”

“As Members of the Committees that have oversight on this issue, we have a duty to investigate: 1) the threats facing our elections in 2018 and 2) the Trump administration’s plan to secure our election from foreign interference,” the members wrote.

“The evidence that Russia interfered in our elections in the past and will do so in the future continues to grow.”

The letter concludes: “We are under attack and the very foundation of our democracy is at stake. We urge you to put aside partisan politics and work with us to protect and defend our country from this ongoing attack. As Rod Rosenstein stated, ‘When we confront foreign interference in American elections it’s important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead think patriotically as Americans.’”

Specifically, the letter asks the relevant Republican Committee Chairmen to invite FBI Director Christopher Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Election Assistance Commission Chairman Tom Hicks to testify at a joint committee hearing to examine the vulnerabilities in our election system and identify what specific steps federal agencies are taking to address threats to our elections.

The full text of the letter can be found online here.

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Peter Whippy (House Administration) 202-225-3072
Shadawn Reddick-Smith (Judiciary) 202-225-6906
Daniel Schwarz (Judiciary) 202-225-5635
Aryele Bradford (Oversight) 202-226-5181
Adam Comis (Homeland Security) 202-225-9978