The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) will no longer hold in-person congressional briefings on election security, and top Democratic lawmakers are calling it an “abuse of power.”
DNI Director John Ratcliffe wrote a letter to Congress on August 28 that stated the ban on the in-person briefings on election security and foreign election interference. This will still give committees access to written reports, but will not allow them to question intelligence officials in-person. NBC News reports this is an “unprecedented move.”
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) does not seem surprised about the change.
She told MSNBC on Monday evening, “It’s hard to be shocked anymore at the abuse of power of this administration.”
“It’s very clear that the president wants, invites, appreciates Russia’s involvement in our election,” the House speaker continued, adding, “By the way, this intelligence belongs to the American people, it belongs to the Congress. The administration is the custodian of it.”
Watch the video below:
"It's hard to be shocked anymore at the abuse of power of this administration," Speaker Pelosi says, discussing the cancelation of in-person congressional briefings on election security. "It's very clear that the president wants, invites … Russia's involvement in our election." pic.twitter.com/JNkIlItiiO— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 1, 2020
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has also weighed in on the change, as he told MSNBC, “They’re going to put this in writing for us instead of briefing us. And the reason why that’s totally inadequate is you can wordsmith a document to be literally correct, but completely misleading.”
See Schiff’s comments below:
"They're going to put this in writing for us instead of briefing us. And the reason why that's totally inadequate is you can wordsmith a document to be literally correct, but completely misleading." —Rep. Schiff on ODNI canceling in-person election security briefings for Congress pic.twitter.com/9RrjASMpSR— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 1, 2020
Ratcliffe defended the change when he told Fox News on Sunday, “A number of members of Congress went to a number of different publications and leaked classified information, again, for political purposes, to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
Democrats have also raised the idea of a potential subpoena for Ratcliffe’s testimony, as IJR reported.