Following a classified election security briefing, Democrats complained that the government is not doing enough to prevent foreign influence during next year’s presidential election as well as that Senate GOP is not doing enough to strengthen election security laws.
“Interference in our elections is a very, very serious problem and it is obvious we have to do a lot more at both the public sector and private sector levels to combat it,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I am very worried about what the Russians and others might do in 2020,” he added after the briefing.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said this may be so because of President Donald Trump’s reluctancy to hold his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin accountable for meddling in the 2016 election.
“We have a president who is actively undermining election security efforts and a lot of people working at the top of these agencies who are trying to do the right thing,” said Murphy.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and other officials led the briefing. According to the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Bennie Thompson, they had assured members of Congress that have the “resources” to secure election systems.
“There’s real interest on the part of members of Congress to know who’s in charge, what are the operating procedures for the process to move forward — and the answers were not as clear as they needed to be,” said Thompson, who noted that Democrats left the briefing with a lot of unanswered questions.
And while Democrats have insisted on a harsher approach to tackling the issue, Republicans have noted that they are confident with election security. After the briefing, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters that “the agencies have the tools they need, and I am confident they are addressing the threats,” although he acknowledged that the U.S. must remain “very vigilant.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, on his part, said the administration’s efforts on the issue very impressive, noting that President Trump is “giving them every authority they’ve asked for.”
“No interference from the White House,” Graham noted, according to The Hill.