The top Democrats on Capitol Hill have sounded the alarm over what they said are serious and specific efforts from foreign entities to interfere in the 2020 elections and have requested an immediate briefing on the matter for Congress from federal authorities on the subject.
In a July 13 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), joined by the top Democrats of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, wrote they are “gravely concerned… that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November.”
The letter was made public on Monday in a press release from Pelosi, Schumer, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). The group framed the threat as “ongoing” and urgent enough to warrant an all-member briefing “at the earliest possible opportunity” before Congress is scheduled to recess in August, and asked Wray to outline a plan for scheduling the briefing by today.
The four enclosed with the letter a classified attachment “to ensure a clear and unambiguous record of the counterintelligence threats of concern… that draws, in large part, from the Executive Branch’s own reporting and analysis,” a congressional official told The Daily Beast.
Reporting to date has indicated that the 2020 election remains a target for foreign actors seeking to sow discord, but specific public examples are scant compared to the 2016 election. High-profile candidates such as Joe Biden have, at times, confirmed that election meddling from adversaries such as Russia is an active threat to the integrity of the 2020 elections.
On Friday, Biden told attendees of a virtual fundraiser “I guarantee you I know now because now I get briefings again. The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. Fact.”
And in February, the Washington Post reported that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was briefed by U.S. authorities that Moscow was actively trying to aid his presidential campaign.
Additional reporting by Erin Banco