Top Democrats lambasted a decision by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to no longer provide lawmakers with in-person, verbal briefings on election security in the lead-up to November’s vote.
“This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement with Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
The ODNI, led since May by John Ratcliffe, will instead provide written briefings to Congress in the leadup to the Nov. 3 vote, CNN and Politico reported earlier, citing people familiar with the matter.
The move comes as congressional Democrats are pushing for more funding for election security and for sanctions against Russia for meddling in the 2016 election.
“This is shameful and — coming only weeks before the election — demonstrates that the Trump administration is engaged in a politicized effort to withhold election-related information from Congress and the American people at the precise moment that greater transparency and accountability is required,” the Democrats said.
The ODNI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes as lawmakers heard from two Secretaries of State Friday that election hacks are expected and ongoing.
Michael Adams, Kentucky’s Republican Secretary of State, testified to the House Homeland Security Committee that there have been attempts to disrupt his state’s election systems.
“We’ve not been breached, but there has been a rattling of our doorknob, I’ll put it that way,” Adams said, without providing details.
A top U.S. counterintelligence official, William Evanina, said in a report this month that Russia, China and Iran are among the foreign powers working in various ways to sway U.S. voters this year.
Pelosi and Schiff said they expect the administration and the intelligence community to keep Congress “fully and accurately informed, and resume the briefings.”
“If they are unwilling to, we will consider the full range of tools available to the House to compel compliance,” they said.
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