- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2017

The House Judiciary Committee has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to update its members about the Trump administration’s efforts to defend the nation’s elections against foreign adversaries amid lingering concerns raised by Russia’s involvement in last year’s White House race.

Committee members sent a letter Friday to Mr. Sessions requesting a briefing on election security after he testified twice in the past two months about the Trump administration’s admittedly lagging attempt to safeguard the 2018 midterms from the type of interference that occurred during last year’s presidential election.

“After your recent appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, we remain deeply concerned about the security of our next federal elections,” the panel’s 16 bipartisan members wrote.

Mr. Sessions appeared before the panel on Oct. 18 and Nov. 15, and both times he testified that his Department of Justice had failed so far to launch a review into what laws may need to be updated to defend against foreign interference, the letter recalls.

Mr. Sessions pledged during the November hearing to investigate the matter, and now the panel wants to be updated no later than Dec. 14, according to the its members.

“Please be prepared to address (1) any review by the Department of existing statutes that may require updating or amendment prior to the next election; (2), the Department’s efforts to identity vulnerabilities in the federal election system; and (3) specific steps recommended by the Department to address those vulnerabilities,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We hope that you have made progress on each of these topics since your appearance before the Committee,” the members added. “Inaction here would be unacceptable. You have a responsibility to do everything in your power to ensure that our elections are free, fair and void of foreign influence.”

The Department of Justice did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the request.

U.S. intelligence officials publicly concluded in January that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 White House race in hopes of disrupting the voting process and electing President Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Moscow has denied involvement, notwithstanding subsequent probes implicating state-sponsored hackers, propagandists and other operatives in the alleged influence campaign.

“The Intelligence Community stands by this assessment today,” the committee members acknowledged Friday. “Publicly available evidence overwhelming supports their conclusion. The threat of foreign influence in our elections is real, present and endangers the most basic notions of democratic process. We believe these facts are more than enough to put the whole of government to work to secure the election process.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide