Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference on House Republicans’ Refusal to Fully Investigate Russia’s Threat to Our Democracy and National Security
|Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Ranking Members Eliot Engel, Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, and Bennie Thompson, as well as Vice Ranking Member Gerry Connolly at a press conference to highlight House Republicans’ refusal to fully investigate and address Russia’s threat to our democracy and national security. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon. As Members of Congress, we proudly take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution and protect the American people. One year ago, that oath was tested when the U.S. Intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in [the] 2016 elections and will do so again. One year ago, today, the community made that revelation. Since then, more information about the scale of Russia’s rising threat to our democracy has emerged. The unprecedented attack requires a whole-of-government response.
The American people deserve a comprehensive and fair investigation on the totality of the Russian attack on our electoral system. The Republican-controlled House continues to block Democrats’ efforts to investigate the attack. Last week, I sent a letter calling on Speaker Ryan to allow the Intelligence Committee to continue its investigation, but received no response.
To date, the House has only held one full committee public hearing on the most significant finding of the report: the continued vulnerability of our elections to foreign interference. House Republicans must show real leadership and join Democrats to find answers to the multitude of vital unanswered questions. Nothing less than the strength and integrity of American democracy and national security are at stake. And that is what we take an oath of office to support and defend: our constitution and the American people.
I’m very pleased to be joined here this afternoon by the leadership of the committees of jurisdiction. I’m going to yield now to Representative [Bennie] Thompson and thank him, as Ranking Member of Homeland Security, former Chair of that Committee, for his great leadership in protecting our electoral system and protecting our homeland security. Mr. Thompson.
I thank our distinguished Ranking Member, the Ranking Members of the Committees of Jurisdiction of – as we have discussed, Congressman Engel of New York, the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Congressman Nadler of New York, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee; Congresswoman Maxine Walters of California, the Ranking Member on the Financial Services Committee; Congressman Benny Thompson, as I mentioned, [the] Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee. Elijah Cummings isn’t with us but he joined our colleagues in signing a letter and instead we had the Vice-Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Gerry Connolly who is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
They were joined by Congressman Bob Brady, Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee, in sending a letter to the Speaker, and in the letter they ask for and they say, ‘We are extremely concerned by the Intelligence Community’s warning that Russia may attempt to interfere with future elections, including the upcoming midterm elections. and we are deeply troubled by the lack of action by the Trump Administration and the House Republicans in responding to this core threat to our democracy.’
I thank them for sending that letter, asking for action and in the letter they say, ‘As members we take a solemn oath to support and defend the constitution and protect the American people. The failure of House Republicans to take strong and swift action in the face of Russia’s assault on our democracy is beneath the dignity of this oath. The strength and integrity of our democracy, the rule of law and our democratic institutions hang in the balance.’
And hence, they ask for action and I thank them for their leadership on their committees and for their presentations today and I am sure they will be pleased to take any questions that you may have on this subject.
Q: How hopeful are you that Ryan will respond to your call to action if you had to put a number to it?
Leader Pelosi. On a score of what to what?
Leader Pelosi. Well we haven’t heard yet but the purpose of our coming together today and this week, one year since the Intelligence Committee put forth this challenge. I have no doubt that if the Democrats were in power we would have taken action to protect our electoral system, I have no doubt if the Democrats were in power the Republicans would be urging that action but that’s not what they’re doing.
And as Congresswoman Waters said, for some reason they are protecting the President. And we just want to get the facts. This is only about getting the facts about our election so we can protect them.
I hope that the odds are very high that the Speaker would respond and I hope that the pubic visibility of the letter that our colleagues have sent and the actions that the American people are calling for will motivate him to respond in a positive way and honor his oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.