- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee asked the panel’s Democratic leader on Tuesday to hold hearings on the topic of Russian election interference.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the House committee’s ranking Republican, made the request in a letter addressed to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, on the heels of special counsel Robert Mueller raising concerns last week about “multiple, systematic efforts” by the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

“The House Judiciary Committee must heed Mr. Mueller’s words and prioritize securing our elections in anticipation of 2020,” Mr. Collins wrote. “To that end, we should hold hearings as soon as possible to determine what Congress can do to assure the American people the Special Counsel’s findings will not merely be used as political cudgels but, more importantly, as real guidance for action to help protect our system of democratic elections.”

“Please hold immediate, thorough and productive hearings regarding Russia’s ability to influence our elections. Let us protect our citizens from this criminal behavior,” Mr. Collins continued.

Mr. Nadler addressed the request on Twitter without explicitly committing to holding any hearings.

“I welcome RM Collins’ willingness to work on what was uncovered in the Mueller Report concerning Russian election crimes and hope he will join us in responding to the related evidence,” Mr. Nadler tweeted.

Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to lead the government’s investigation into the 2016 election and related matters, and his probe culminated in federal prosecutors filing criminal charges against 34 individuals and three entities, including several Russian nationals accused of interfering in the race in addition to multiple former members of Mr. Trump’s presidential election campaign.

In his first public address since his appointment, Mr. Mueller said last week that the investigation uncovered allegations of foreign election meddling that “deserves the attention of every American.”

“Without reservation, I concur with the Special Counsel that the sanctity of our elections must not ever be taken for granted or exposed to foreign threats,” Mr. Collins wrote Tuesday. “Congress should show the American people we are prioritizing the security of our democratic institutions above partisan posturing.”

In the Senate, meanwhile, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Monday that Republican leadership has agreed to hold a briefing so lawmakers can learn about the threat of foreign interference in the 2020 elections.

“We’re still trying to sort out the timing of the briefing, but I’d urge that it take place as soon as possible during this work period so we can prepare new legislation that will go into effect at least a year before Election Day of 2020,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.

Spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, did not immediately comment.

Russia interfered in the U.S. electoral process in 2016 by using state-sponsored hackers to attack computer systems and steal data subsequently leaked online and touted by propaganda outlets and government-linked “internet trolls,” U.S. officials previously determined.

The heads of both the FBI and U.S. State Department have since said that Russia is expected to interfere again in the 2020 races.

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