House committee leader questions Trump on efforts to secure elections

House committee leader questions Trump on efforts to secure elections
© Stefani Reynolds

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Federal watchdog finds chemical facilities vulnerable to cyberattacks MORE (D-Miss.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzLawmakers call on VA to remove swastikas from headstones in veterans cemeteries Bipartisan group of lawmakers calls on DeVos to issue guidance on child abuse reporting amid pandemic Florida election supervisors urge DeSantis to 'act immediately' to make voting safe amid pandemic MORE (D-Fla.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE this week questioning his administration's efforts to secure elections.

The letter was sent Wednesday in light of comments made by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE while testifying in front of two House committees. Mueller said that the Russians will likely try to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections, and are doing so “as we sit here.”

Thompson and Wasserman Schultz questioned Trump on his actions taken in regard to election security, in particular pointing out that he has not requested or received a briefing from federal officials about election security efforts. They also questioned why Trump has not designated a White House official to coordinate “interagency efforts” to secure elections against foreign interference.

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“It is your responsibility, as Commander in Chief, to address the threat of cyber-attacks, influence operations, disinformation campaigns, and other activities that undermine the security and integrity of U.S. democratic institutions,” Thompson and Wasserman Schultz wrote. “We implore you to treat this issue with seriousness and with the utmost sense of urgency and concern that it demands.”

The two demanded Trump both receive a briefing from senior officials on election security efforts and appoint an individual to coordinate government efforts on this topic. 

They added that “Congress must have the confidence that the administration is taking this ongoing threat seriously,” noting they had so far not seen any evidence the White House had much “interest” in securing elections.

A spokesperson for the White House did not respond to request for comment on the letter. 

Thompson’s counterpart on the committee, ranking member Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersBottom line Officials warn Chinese hackers targeting groups developing coronavirus treatments Hillicon Valley: Amazon VP resigns in protest | Republicans eye university ties to China | Support rises for vote by mail MORE (R-Ala.), told The Hill in reaction to the letter that “If Democrats were serious about securing our elections, they would stop pushing partisan bills that will never become law and start working across the aisle.”

Rogers added, “All Americans need to be sure that voting equipment and systems are secure and their vote counts as they intended.”