Pelosi presses Ryan for classified briefing on election security

Pelosi presses Ryan for classified briefing on election security
© Greg Nash
 
In a letter to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE (R-Wis.), Pelosi said the decision by Republicans to hold an unclassified meeting scheduled for Thursday fails to recognize “the gravity of the assault on our electoral system.”
 
“Only a classified briefing would address the seriousness of the attack on our democracy,” she wrote.
 
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Lawmakers have sought to raise the alarm on election security after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election with the aim of tipping the presidential race away from Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Top GOP legislator in California leaves party GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE.
 
Officials have said that Russian hackers targeted digital systems involved in the election process in 21 states as part of a broader effort to interfere in the 2016 elections. While officials maintain that hackers mostly probed for vulnerabilities, they have said that in a small number of states, like Illinois, actors were able to break in — though officials insist there is no evidence any vote totals were changed. 
 
 
Democrats, who have urged such a briefing for months, have pushed back on the unclassified nature of the meeting.
 
Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonJudge temporarily halts construction of a private border wall in Texas Hillicon Valley: FCC moves against Huawei, ZTE | Dem groups ask Google to reconsider ads policy | Bill introduced to increase data access during probes House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues MORE (Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, argued the unclassified setting won’t allow the intelligence officials “to go into the detail necessary to properly educate members of Congress on The Trump Administration's efforts — or lack thereof — to secure our election systems from foreign interference."
 
Lawmakers are accustomed to huddling in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center to receive classified updates on issues as varied as Russian hacking and U.S. military invention in Syria.
 
Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE, for instance, had conducted such a session last May, and the Democrats want a similar confidential environment to accompany this week’s election security briefing.
 
“I urge you to make this important briefing classified to honor Members’ need to know, to recognize the prospect of further damage to our democratic system and to fulfill our responsibilities to our nation,” Pelosi wrote to Ryan on Tuesday.
 
“We are in the midst of an election season, and there is no time to waste.” 
 
Ryan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday