ICYMI: IT’S ALL GOOD:
Congressional Republicans are expressing confidence that the 2020 elections will be secure, despite strong protests from Democrats that more needs to be done.
House and Senate members received separate classified briefings from senior administration officials on Wednesday, during which the plans for securing the 2020 elections were outlined in the wake of Russia’s extensive interference ahead of the 2016 vote.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told reporters that while the U.S. must be “very vigilant” against election threats from foreign governments, “the agencies have the tools they need, and I am confident they are addressing the threats.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of President Trump who has previously supported additional election security legislation, said that he was “very impressed” by the administration’s efforts ahead of 2020.
“They all said the president is giving them every authority they’ve asked for. No interference from the White House,” Graham said.
While none of the administration officials involved spoke with the press, several lawmakers confirmed that they said during the closed-door meetings they didn’t need additional legislation or extra funding from Congress.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters that the officials said “the resources are available to secure the 2020 elections,” and that they do not need anything else from lawmakers at this time.
Thompson’s counterpart on the committee, ranking member Mike Rogers(R-Ala.), added that the briefing “gave some confidence to me that they’re on top of this.”
Election security legislation has been stalemated for months on Capitol Hill amid a standoff between House Democrats and Senate GOP leadership.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has opposed passing legislation on election security, and on Wednesday further lowered expectations that the briefing would manage to overcome the gap between parties, focusing his criticism on the Obama administration ahead of the briefing.
“The more Obama gave, the more [Russian President Vladimir] Putin took. Among those consequences, as we all know, was that Putin felt sufficiently emboldened to seek to interfere in our 2016 presidential election,” McConnell said.