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July 27, 2018

Top Democrats Demand President Lay Out a Plan to Act After Today’s Election Security National Security Council Meeting

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Members of the House Committees on Homeland Security, House Administration, Oversight & Government Reform, and the Judiciary, released the below statement following news that President Trump, in an apparent about face, is holding a National Security Council meeting on election security today. The members demand the President use the meeting as an opportunity to lead and outline a path for action after previously ignoring the threat to our voting systems and democratic institutions.  Today’s meeting, by its very nature, must include the overwhelming evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and their intention to continue to do so.

News of this meeting comes after the White House is still reeling from last week’s disastrous press conference in Helsinki where President Trump indicated he did not believe Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. He said this despite the unanimous agreement of the Intelligence Community and the repeated assertions of his own Cabinet and senior Administration officials.  Just last night, new news reports indicate that Russia has targeted campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections – which are less than four months away. 

“President Trump has spent his entire presidency denying the Russian threat, spinning baseless conspiracy theories, and interfering with independent criminal investigations.  Now, ever since the President capitulated to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the White House has been in crisis mode.  We are skeptical that the President’s newfound interest in election security is anything more than cheap talk and desperate damage control, especially as he continues to make ludicrous claims that up is down and black is white—that Putin is helping Democrats and that he is tough on Russia.

“If the President wants to convince the public that he takes protecting this country seriously, we need a solid plan of action to come from this meeting.  The public needs to know that this is not just another spectacle for the President to put on. This meeting should have happened months ago and the President deserves no special credit for doing what he is charged to do to by his oath of office.”

“We need answers from the White House to questions we have been asking for over a year.  First, we want to know who at the White House is keeping the President apprised of election interference efforts and who is coordinating interagency efforts to counter them.  Second, the White House needs to lay out a coordinated strategy to secure election infrastructure and counter influence campaigns with goals, timelines, and budgets. Third, the President must ask Congress to provide sufficient funding for states to secure their election systems. Lastly, the President needs to acknowledge that the Russian government, at Putin’s direction, meddled in our 2016 elections and that they will continue to try to do so.  He personally must demand that those who interfered in our elections are brought to justice.  We must remind the President that he works for the American people, not the Kremlin.”

“The President owes the public more than empty promises, vague platitudes, and petty mudslinging.  If his Administration drops the ball on its duty to keep the country secure from Putin’s will, we will pay dearly. It’s time for the President to step up to the plate and lead.”

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