In an effort to get to the bottom of the Russia election interference, Democratic lawmakers are pressing House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to subpoena the Department of Homeland Security for documents related to Russia’s efforts to target state systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
In a letter sent to Gowdy on Monday, the Democrats on the committee accused the Trump administration of withholding “critical information” from Congress on the targeting.
Homeland Security said last year that hackers tried to probe election-related systems in 21 states. According to U.S. investigators, both Illinois and Arizona witnessed breaches of state voter registration databases. None of the systems targeted were involved in vote tallying.
The department formally notified election officials in affected states that they were targets in September. The department did not disclose the identities of the states in order to protect their confidentiality, but some states chose to publicly identify themselves as targets.
Democrats led by ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) are now accusing Homeland Security of “defying” congressional requests for more information about Moscow’s state targeting efforts. The letter to Gowdy cites document requests that the lawmakers say either went unanswered or received an inadequate response.
Reps. Cummings and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) asked the department last October for copies of the department’s notification to the states identifying them as targets of Russian hackers. The new letter accuses the department of responding with a “generic script that provides no specific information.”
This month, two subcommittees asked the department produce a series of documents by Jan. 19, including copies of “all documents related to the Russian government-backed attempts to monitor, penetrate, or hack state election systems during the presidential election campaign of 2016.” Two Republicans signed onto the request.
The department has not responded to the request, according to the letter.
Cummings and his colleagues asked Gowdy to subpoena the department by Feb. 5 for the documents requested earlier this month, or allow the committee to vote on a motion to issue a subpoena.
“The Intelligence Community has warned us that Russia intends to continue interfering with elections in the United States and around the world,” they wrote. “It is our responsibility to obtain information about what happened in 2016 so we can adequately prepare for future attempts to interfere with our democracy.”