The Roundup: August 15-21
Since Trump took the White House, there have been fewer and fewer moments of true bipartisanship. We’re used to Republicans and Democrats duking it out over everything, from the pettiest issues to the most significant — which is why it’s critical to capitalize on the rare moments of opportunity for cooperation across the aisle.
Well, one of those moments is happening right now.
This past week, the fight for greater election security funding for states was invigorated by a push from the right. A notable conservative group is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to end his blockade of all election security bills, and calling on Republican senators, many of whom support election security measures, to pressure Senate leadership to take action.
Members of both parties can agree that the evidence revealed by the Mueller investigation, that Russia infiltrated election systems in at least two states, is too shocking to ignore. And based on the bipartisan work of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we know that the truth is even more alarming: Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states during the 2016 election. Our voting systems remain vulnerable to foreign interference, and we need to replace outdated, electronic voting equipment with systems that use voter-verified paper ballots before it’s too late.
The House recently passed a 2020 appropriations bill that does exactly that. We need the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, to take the House’s lead and pass $600 million in election security funding for states. Click here to call your senator and urge them to take action.
This week, the fourth-highest ranking House Democrat publicly announced he now supports opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump. Congressman Ben Ray Luján, the Assistant Speaker of the House, said he supports an impeachment inquiry because of the findings of the Mueller report and Trump’s lack of action on election security. Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood also announced her support for an impeachment inquiry this week, becoming the second lawmaker representing a Trump district to back an inquiry.
That puts the number of lawmakers in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry at 128.
Stay on top of everything that happened. Get your full recap of the week’s news here:
The Huffington Post: Republican Group Urges GOP Senators To Stand Up To Mitch McConnell In Damning New Ads
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing new pressure from his own party for blocking two election security bills. Republicans for the Rule of Law launched a campaign earlier this month demanding that the Senate leader allow a vote on the bills.
McClatchyDC: Republicans use McConnell allies to try and force his hand on election security
A conservative group, Republicans for the Rule of Law, is increasing pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put election security legislation up for a vote in the Senate by airing ads that target the Kentucky Republican and four other Republican senators in their home states.
Politico: America faces a voting security crisis in 2020. Here’s why – and what officials can do about it.
Paperless voting machines are just waiting to be hacked in 2020. And “upgrading” to paper-based voting machines may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s something cybersecurity experts are urging election officials across the country to do.
The Hill: State officials beg Congress for more election security funding
Speaking at a forum hosted by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) said additional federal funding is the best way Congress can help states shore up election security and ward off cyberattacks.
Brookings: Americans want federal action on election security ahead of 2020, per new Brookings survey
To examine attitudes toward election security, researchers at the Brookings Institution undertook an online U.S. national poll with 2,000 adult internet users between August 6 to 8, 2019. In spite of the varying opinions about the foreign threat, many Americans want Congress to take meaningful action. Fifty-eight percent believe the U.S. government should provide additional funding to the states to help them upgrade the security of their election equipment.
Salon: Hackers can easily break into voting machines used across the U.S
Participants at Def Con, a large annual hacker conference, were asked to try their skills on voting machines to help expose weaknesses that could be used by hostile actors. A video published by CNN shows a hacker break into a Diebold machine, which is used in 18 different states, in a matter of minutes, using no special tools, to gain administrator-level access.
ThinkProgress: Federal funding needed to thwart attacks on 2020 elections, state officials say
State election officials are sounding what is becoming an increasingly dire warning about the integrity of the voting process heading into the 2020 election, pleading for federal funds to help secure next year’s balloting against cyberattacks.
[Opinion] The Washington Post: Trump Is Holding Election Security Hostage
Trump tweeted that “No debate on Election Security should go forward without first agreeing that Voter ID (Identification) must play a very strong part in any final agreement. Without Voter ID, it is all so meaningless!” In other words, he is explicitly acknowledging that he will allow known vulnerabilities in American election security infrastructure to remain as inviting targets to foreign adversaries of the United States — unless he gets his way on a long-standing Republican priority.
NBC News: Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Lujan backs impeachment inquiry
Lujan cited the findings of the Mueller report and Trump’s lack of action on election security: “What is evident is that Trump is abdicating his responsibility to defend our nation from Russian attacks and is putting his own personal and political interests ahead of the American people.”
The Hill: Second Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) on Tuesday announced support for an impeachment inquiry, becoming the second House Democrat representing a district carried by Trump in 2016 to back the move. Of the 31 House Democrats who represent districts that Trump won in 2016, only Underwood and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) have endorsed an impeachment inquiry to date.
The New York Times: House Panel Subpoenas Corey Lewandowski and Trump Aide in Obstruction Case
Mr. Lewandowski, who has remained a close informal adviser to Trump, is viewed by lawmakers as a particularly valuable witness because of his role in an unsuccessful attempt by Trump in the summer of 2017 to dramatically curtail the special counsel’s investigation of Russian election interference and his campaign.
Politico: Dems accuse DOJ of trying to hobble Congress’ oversight to protect Trump
In a court filing, House lawyers said the Justice Department’s call to invalidate a subpoena for Trump’s financial records was so sweeping it would essentially inoculate presidents from congressional inquiry — reversing precedents that began with George Washington, who submitted to congressional inquiry.
Politico: Mueller-targeted Russian firm seeks April 2020 trial
Mueller filed the charges in February 2018 against the St. Petersburg-based Concord and two other Russian businesses, as well as 13 Russian individuals. So far, however, only Concord has fought the charges in court, hiring a U.S.-based law firm to represent the company.