WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), was joined by fellow committee members Tom Carper, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, Gary Peters, Maggie Hassan, and Kamala Harris today as they formally requested an investigation focusing on “Russia’s attempts to infiltrate and influence the U.S. presidential election on November 8, 2016, by attacking the nation’s election infrastructure,” in a letter to Chairman Ron Johnson.
Election infrastructure falls squarely within HSGAC’s jurisdiction, which has oversight authority over the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Last month, DHS announced that election infrastructure would be designated “critical infrastructure,” making state and local election entities eligible to receive prioritized cybersecurity assistance from DHS.
The Senators’ letter outlines public information indicating Russia’s attempts to hack election infrastructure and influence the November presidential election, pointing to a report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which stated, with high confidence, that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” The request to Sen. Johnson comes after the resignation of Michael Flynn as President Trump’s National Security Advisor earlier this week after reports that the FBI had warned that he might be susceptible to blackmail by the Russian government and that Flynn misled senior Administration officials, including the Vice President, about his communications with Russian officials during the Presidential Transition.
The letter to Sen. Johnson reads, “Russia’s organized campaign to undermine our presidential election and target our election infrastructure is certainly one of the most pressing issues facing our nation. We therefore request that you initiate an investigation… into these issues, and schedule regular hearings to ensure that the American people are kept apprised of the progress and results of the Committee’s investigation… Only a thorough, transparent investigation will allow the American people to learn exactly what transpired during the 2016 presidential campaign and what changes, if any, are necessary to safeguard our nation’s critical infrastructure from further cyber hacking.”
Last week, McCaskill requested a classified briefing from the FBI for members of the Committee on any ongoing investigations into potentially inappropriate Trump Administration contact with Russian officials.
A copy of the Senators’ letter is available HERE.