Smith, National Security Ranking Members Send Letter to President Obama Urging Briefings on Russian Interference in U.S. Election
Washington, DC – Today, Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel, Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, and Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff sent a letter to President Obama asking for Administration officials to brief all Members of Congress on Russian efforts to influence or interfere in the recent federal election.
Citing concerns that “Russia may have succeeded in weakening Americans’ trust” in our democratic institutions through its actions, the authors of the letter call attention to the hacking of American organizations, publication of private emails sent to or from campaign officials, as well as disclosures by WikiLeaks and fabricated news stories.
“By eroding Americans’ and foreigners’ trust in U.S. institutions,” the letter states, “Russia both weakens our country and sows global instability and uncertainty. …To evaluate Congress’s response appropriately, we would like all Members to have a comprehensive understanding of what the U.S. Intelligence Community knows regarding Russia’s involvement in these actions and attempts to interfere in our election.”
The full text of the letter can be read below.
Dear Mr. President:
We are deeply concerned by Russian efforts to undermine, interfere with, and even influence the outcome of our recent election. This Russian malfeasance is not confined to us, but extends to our allies, our alliances and to democratic institutions around the world.
The integrity of democracy must never be in question, and we are gravely concerned that Russia may have succeeded in weakening Americans’ trust in our electoral institutions through their cyber activity, which may also include sponsoring disclosures through WikiLeaks and other venues, and the production and distribution of fake news stories.
Foreign interference presents a win-win for Russia—which we must counter. By eroding Americans’ and foreigners’ trust in U.S. institutions, Russia both weakens our country and sows global instability and uncertainty. Both present a boon for Russia and a loss for those working to maintain peace and prosperity around the world through the leadership of the United States and its allies.
To evaluate Congress’s response appropriately, we would like all Members to have a comprehensive understanding of what the U.S. Intelligence Community knows regarding Russia’s involvement in these actions and attempts to interfere in our election. Specifically, we are requesting a classified briefing that will provide details regarding Russian entities’ hacking of American political organizations; hacking and strategic release of emails from campaign officials; the WikiLeaks disclosures; fake news stories produced and distributed with the intent to mislead American voters; and any other Russian or Russian-related interference or involvement in our recent election.
We thank you for your attention to this matter.
STENY H. HOYER
Ranking Member, Committee on Judiciary
Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Affairs
BENNIE G. THOMPSON
Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS
Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Ranking Member, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence