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Top Democrats Call on Speaker Paul Ryan to Compel Trump Administration to Produce All Documents on Russian Cyberattacks Against States

Apr 10, 2018
Correspondence

(WASHINGTON) Today, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Robert Brady, Bennie G. Thompson, and Eliot Engel—the Ranking Members of the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary, Intelligence, House Administration, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs—sent a letter urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to personally intervene to obtain all documents being withheld by the Trump Administration relating to Russian government-backed efforts to monitor, penetrate, or otherwise hack at least 21 state election systems before the 2016 election.

“We have been trying to work through the committee process, but we have faced two obstacles:  the Trump Administration is refusing to provide the documents we requested, and Republicans appear to have no interest in compelling the Trump Administration to produce them,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “Our goal is to obtain the documents collected and prepared by our federal agencies about these Russian attacks in order to take concrete steps to prevent this from happening again.  That is our responsibility under the Constitution.”

On October 20, 2017, Cummings and Information Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Robin Kelly sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting documents relating to reports that entities linked to the Russian government had monitored or penetrated the election systems of 21 states prior to the election in 2016.  DHS produced just one e-mail with a short generic script that Department employees apparently read over the phone to state election officials.  This script is 13 sentences long and does not refer to any specific state or attack. 

“The election happened 17 months ago,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “It is inexcusable that Republican leaders in Congress have done so little to investigate—or address—Russian-backed attacks on our states, despite the fact that we have been asking repeatedly for congressional action on this important matter.  We must be able to evaluate the threat that Russia posed—and still poses—but we cannot do our jobs effectively without obtaining the facts.”

On January 29, 2018, all Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel DHS to produce these documents or allow a vote on a subpoena motion. On February 2, 2018, Cummings and Vice Ranking Member Gerald E. Connolly sent another letter to Gowdy renewing this request, but he never responded.

In February, DHS provided approximately 50 additional pages of documents, but most were publicly available documents rather than specific classified information about the Russian-backed attacks.

During an Oversight Committee business meeting on February 6, 2018, Democrats moved to allow debate and a vote on a subpoena to compel DHS to produce the outstanding documents, but Republicans blocked all consideration of the issue.

“The Trump Administration’s response has been woefully inadequate,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “To our knowledge, the Trump Administration has not provided any Committee in the House of Representatives with these classified documents about Russian-backed attacks against state election systems.”

Click here to read today’s letter.

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Media contact (Thompson):
Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978