Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), used his vote Tuesday to thwart unanimous consent in scheduling a briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee by National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s Bill Evanina regarding election security. The move resulted in the cancelling of the briefing just weeks before the General Election.
Schumer cited the politics surrounding the vacancy on the US Supreme Court created by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Reserving the right to object because the Senate Republicans have no respect for the institution, we won’t have business as usual here in the Senate. I object,” Schumer said.
Almost immediately, others on the committee stated their concern for Schumer’s politicization of the briefing.
“It’s disappointing to see Senator Schumer prevent our committee from conducting vital oversight of our intelligence community. After the FBI’s gross mishandling of the investigation into the 2016 election, counterintelligence reform is bipartisan, timely, and relevant,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said in a statement.
“Just a few weeks ago Democrats were demanding intel briefings. Now, Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting partisan politics ahead of secure elections. We know that Vladimir Putin and Chairman Xi are looking to sow more distrust and chaos in America as we turn towards the ballot box. Schumer’s tantrum is short-sighted and despicable,” added Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).
Recently, Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, stated his intention to cease in-person briefing on election security, deferring to written updates and reports for the various congressional committees. His position was immediately criticized by Democrats on The Hill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), went on record as saying that Ratcliffe’s proposal was “a politicized effort to withhold election-related information from Congress and the American people at the precise moment that greater transparency and accountability is required.”
Ratcliffe later reversed his decision leading to Tuesday’s vote to schedule the meeting.
Senator Schumer’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment regarding his vote.