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 ThompsonHillicon Valley: 8chan owner defends platform before Congress | Facebook launches dating feature | New York City sues T-Mobile | Top NSA cyber official names ransomware as 2020 threat | Blue Dog Dems urge action on election security 8chan owner defends platform in testimony before Congress The Hill's Morning Report - US coastline readies for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall MORE (D-Miss.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDemocrats walk tightrope in fight over Trump wall funds Parkland father: Twitter did not suspend users who harassed me using name of daughter's killer Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel releases election security report | GOP blocks votes on election security bills | Gabbard sues Google over alleged censorship | Barr meets state AGs on tech antitrust concerns MORE (D-Fla.) sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal 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.

“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 RogersHillicon Valley: 8chan owner defends platform before Congress | Facebook launches dating feature | New York City sues T-Mobile | Top NSA cyber official names ransomware as 2020 threat | Blue Dog Dems urge action on election security 8chan owner defends platform in testimony before Congress Conservatives lash out at CNN for hiring Andrew McCabe 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.”