Democrats Demand Jeff Sessions Explain What He’s Doing to Stop Russian Interference

In a letter, House members warn the attorney general that “inaction here would be unacceptable.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C., United States, on Nov. 29, 2017.Ting Shen/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are giving Attorney General Jeff Sessions another chance to explain what the Justice Department is doing to protect against Russian interference in elections.

In a Friday letter, 16 Democrats on the panel asked Sessions to brief them by December 14 on vulnerabilities in federal election systems and steps to reduce them, including potential updates to laws, in the wake of the intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia attempted to undermine the 2016 election and help elect President Donald Trump.

The committee members cited a November 15 hearing during which Sessions admitted his department had not done enough to prepare for anticipated Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. In response to a question from Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Mich.), Sessions said he had not acted on a pledge he made at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in October to conduct a review of the issue. “I have not followed through to see where we are on that,” Sessions told Schneider. “I will personally take action to do so.”

“Inaction here would be unacceptable,” the Democrats write. “You have a responsibility to do everything in your power to ensure that our elections are free, fair and void of foreign influence.”
 


DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest