Last night, Rep. Lieu (D-CA) released an official statement outlining his stance on Russian involvement in the election. He did so after reviewing an intelligence document concerning Russia’s involvement in the US Presidential election. He released the following statement:
I have now read the highly classified intelligence report on Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. I analyzed the report from my perspective as a computer science major and as a Member of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.”
“Here is my reaction: there is clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusions of the intelligence community as outlined in the unclassified version of the report. Russian hacking of Americans and American political organizations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election was multifaceted and brazen, with the goals of undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process and harming Secretary Clinton’s electability. Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for Trump.”
“I believe Trump is actively misleading Americans when he says the Russians did not attempt to help his election chances and denigrate Secretary Clinton’s electability. Cyber espionage against American political organizations and cyber intrusions into our electoral boards are not partisan issues; they are American issues. I call on every Member of Congress who has been briefed on or read the classified report to tell Trump that he needs, to tell the truth to the American people. At stake is not just our national security, but the very fabric of our democracy.”
Members of Congress recently received an intelligence briefing on the Russian plot to subvert our democratic process in this last election. Just yesterday, Democratic lawmakers began to review the information and are reportedly ‘furious’ with the FBI. As early as this past December, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) requested an immediate briefing last December which was denied. Sen. Johnson stated, “It is disappointing that the CIA would provide information on this issue to The Washington Post and NBC but will not provide information to elected members of Congress.”
During his hearing to become Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions was asked to concede that the Russians interfered in this election by Sen. Lindsay Graham. Sen. Graham remarked that it is his belief Russian interference played a role in the outcome of the election. Sen. Graham cited both the FBI and the Intelligence Community, at large, to have officially found the Russians likely to have carried out a campaign to influence and interfere in the election.
More dissertation and angst is circulating in the halls of Congress as more members of Congress begin to educate themselves on the accusation and intelligence available, culminating in a more comprehensive briefing, today. President Obama was briefed and then President-elect Trump and now, Congress. The issue will not die with the election as members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are outraged by the Russian interference and hint at desires to take action in response.
The responses of prominent members of Congress and party leadership might find some commonality in their contempt for Russian interference in the US Democratic process. Their take and political discourse on the Russian intervention will shape foreign policy with regard to Russia for the foreseeable future.
Featured image courtesy of The New York Times