Fighting Back – Rep. Bennie Thompson: “Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

Found on the Internets

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Bennie Thompson from Mississippi:

Rep. Thompson

“Congress must act and act immediately. We must get the truth about Russia’s meddling and the full extent of the Trump Campaign complicity. But we must also take action to protect our elections and our election infrastructure next time.

“That is why House Democrats launched the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, which I am proud to co-chair with Congressman Brady from Pennsylvania.

“This task force’s central mission is to focus on how to bolster the cyber and physical security of our election system ahead of the 2018 election. […]

“While elections are the exclusive responsibilities of the states, the Federal government has a responsibility to step up and help, where needed, to support states as they work to prevent the Russians or other bad actors from disrupting and interfering with our elections.

Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern. We hope House Republicans will join us.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Congressman Bennie Thompson Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Congressman Bennie Thompson. I represent Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, and I am the top Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security.

“Nearly everyone outside the White House accepts the Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia carried out the hacking campaign in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election.

“And this week, in Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, we saw the first public evidence that the Trump Campaign eagerly intended to collude with Russia.

“This shocking new evidence raises even graver questions about Russia’s success infiltrating the election systems in 21 states and stealing voting records containing personal information.

“All of this has damaged Americans’ faith in our democracy and confidence in the security of our voting systems.

“In fact, just this week, one poll found one in four respondents reported that they may not vote in the next election because of cybersecurity concerns.

“This is not acceptable. Congress must act and act immediately. We must get the truth about Russia’s meddling and the full extent of the Trump Campaign complicity. But we must also take action to protect our elections and our election infrastructure next time.

“That is why House Democrats launched the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, which I am proud to co-chair with Congressman Brady from Pennsylvania.

“This task force’s central mission is to focus on how to bolster the cyber and physical security of our election system ahead of the 2018 election.

“It will be a forum for Members of Congress to hear from experts in cybersecurity and election infrastructure and identify actions that should be taken to help ensure the integrity of our election systems and guard against future attacks.

“While elections are the exclusive responsibilities of the states, the Federal government has a responsibility to step up and help, where needed, to support states as they work to prevent the Russians or other bad actors from disrupting and interfering with our elections.

“Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern. We hope House Republicans will join us.

“Unfortunately, we have a President who shows no interest in preventing last year’s election interference from happening again. The Department of Homeland Security is also wavering over whether our election infrastructure should be designated part of our country’s critical infrastructure.

“Here in Congress, Republican leaders have displayed no appetite to tackle this critical homeland security issue – or even hold hearings.

“If we continue to do nothing, we make it easy for Russia and other nefarious actors to meddle in future elections.

“We must put politics aside for the good of the country and work together on this and so many other important issues to the American people.

“I thank you for your attention and urge you to stay engaged. Our Democracy demands your involvement.”

Any bolding has been added.

CSPAN covered the Democratic Party leadership’s news conference on plans to hold the administration accountable.

“Russian Interference in 2016 Elecion – House Democrats announced a plan to try to force their Republican colleagues to vote on matters relating to Russia and the 2016 elections. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats held a news conference to talk about their plan to offer resolutions of inquiry.”

Transcript: Leader Pelosi’s remarks

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Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning. Good morning.

Very interesting week. And this month, when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July, the courage of our Founders, and remember that we all, as Members of Congress, and any other person in public life takes a sacred oath. We solemnly swear that we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, so help me God.

This week we saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign and indeed the Trump family eagerly intending to collude possibly with Russia, a hostile foreign power, to influence American elections. In the month, again, as we celebrate the courage of our Founders, Republicans in Congress have become enablers of the Trump-Russia assault on our democracy.

After these latest revelations, it is becoming clear we have suffered a desecration of our democracy not seen since Watergate. Speaker [Paul] Ryan must allow a vote on an outside, independent commission to get to the bottom of the Trump campaign’s role in Russia’s assault on our democracy and prevent Putin from ever doing it again, immediately – outside, independent commission.

It’s not just about what happened in the past. It’s to prevent it from happening again. We have an inside investigation in the Justice Department under Special Counsel Mueller. We have an inside the Congress investigation by the Intelligence Committees. We need an outside, independent commission to investigate this.

I’ve asked over and over again, what do the Russians have politically, personally, or financially on Donald Trump that we, the American people, should know? Why are the Republicans continuing to hide the truth?

Instead of defending the integrity of American democracy, instead of holding the Trump White House accountable for its complicity, instead of showing Russia that there will be consequences, the House Republican majority does nothing.

The GOP must immediately join us in a call for the release of all communications within the Trump campaign and within the family, by email, text, Twitter or any other direct message.

The GOP must hold [Jared] Kushner accountable for the false statements on his national security disclosure form and his security clearance must be revoked immediately. You know that the numbers keep growing as to the false statements.

Six months into this Congress, the Republicans still have not put forward any jobs bill, any bill to raise wages, create good paying jobs. There has been no budget, no infrastructure bill, no tax reform, no plan to avoid a catastrophic default on the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

Republicans are advancing an agenda that will create needless suffering in the lives of families in every part of America, manifested today on their latest iteration on Trumpcare.

Over the Fourth of July recess, Republicans heard an earful from constituents frightened and angry about what Trumpcare would do to them and their loved ones: higher costs for fewer benefits, gutting key protections, a crushing age tax, stealing from Medicare and Medicaid, and, again, millions of people losing their coverage.

This Senate bill now that is circulating does even deeper damage to Americans with Medicaid. The President has called the House bill mean. This is even meaner. The Republicans will do all this to damage seniors, children, and working families just to hand tax breaks to the richest.

And, by the way, it hits not only our working families and seniors and the rest, but veterans within those families, sick and disabled children, people in rural hospitals or served by rural hospitals.

As ever, the stories of families who will suffer are the most eloquent. Nothing is more eloquent to a Member of Congress than the voice of his or her own constituents, and those stories and the outside mobilization of the outside groups who are involved in the sit-ins and town hall meetings and call-ins and the rest and presenting the stories, they keep turning up the heat on Trumpcare. When people know, people will act upon it, and hopefully their Representatives in Congress will represent them.

Earlier today, I called upon Republicans to withdraw their mean-spirited and discriminatory Hartzler amendment [to the National Defense Authorization Act] targeting transgender service members in the defense bill. This amendment reverses so much of the work of bipartisan efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

On another subject, in terms of Russia, I am also pleased to join Whip Hoyer and Ranking Member Engel to introduce the strong Russia sanctions bill, overwhelmingly passed in a bipartisan way, 98 to 2, in the U.S. Senate.

So it’s just addressing two things that are happening legislatively on the floor yesterday and today.

Just in closing, I want to say I’m so saddened by the news of Liu Xiaobo’s passing today. Two weeks ago, I was pleased to join Representative Chris Smith, the co-chair, with Senator [Marco] Rubio, Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, as the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

The world grieves the loss of one of the great moral voices of our time. We had hoped that the Chinese – they mistreated him in prison, contributed to his illness – we had hoped that they would allow him to leave the country to receive medical care. They did not. It’s a sad day.

I had the privilege of going to Oslo when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. I was honored by the invitation by his family to be part of the delegation. As you probably remember, he was not able to leave China, so they had an empty chair. But his presence was felt because of his values, his writings, and it’s sad to see his passing.

With that, I’m pleased to take any questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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From Leader Pelosi’s Newsroom: Remember When House GOP Thought Trump-Russia Connection was Funny?

#FlashbackFriday: Remember when Speaker Ryan and House GOP Leaders ‘joked’ that Vladimir Putin ‘pays’ President Trump two months ago?

With the revelation of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort meeting with a Russian lawyer, a former Russian counter-intelligence agent and [insert names of possible others here] to obtain ‘high level and sensitive information’ to influence the 2016 presidential election, no one is laughing now.

Links to news reports and opinion pieces are at the newsroom link.

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  3 comments for “Fighting Back – Rep. Bennie Thompson: “Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern.”

  1. JanF
    July 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

    The most important issue facing Democrats right now is our fight to block the Senate from passing their Affordable Care Act repeal. The solution is to fix the ACA, not to repeal it.

    Pelosi Statement on New Democrat Coalition Members Working to Update & Improve ACA

    Washington, D.C. — Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement after a group of 10 House Democrats, led by the New Democrat Coalition Affordable and Accessible Health Care Task Force, released a set of proposals targeted at stabilizing health insurance markets and bringing down the cost of healthcare for all Americans:

    “From day one of the Trump Administration, Republicans have cynically and purposefully worked to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and drive up Americans’ health costs. It’s always been clear that Trumpcare is a billionaires’ tax break disguised as a health bill – one that raises costs, pushes millions off coverage, guts key protections, imposes a crushing age tax, and steals from Medicare.

    “If Republicans can abandon their blind fever for repeal, however, Democrats have always extended the hand of friendship to work together to update and improve the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic Members unveiling their proposals today have assembled some promising ideas to put Solutions Over Politics to strengthen the ACA and continue to lower costs for seniors and hard-working families.

    “Instead of devastating millions of families across America with Trumpcare, Republicans should work constructively with Democrats to enact improvements and updates that help every family secure affordable quality health care. The GOP needs to stop the sabotage, give up repeal, and start putting solutions over politics for the good of the American people.”

  2. JanF
    July 15, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Meanwhile, the Trump Administration continues its march toward repealing the 20th Century and rolling back hard-fought rights including the right for women to go to college without fear of sexual assault. The Republican Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, met with men’s rights activists to redefine “campus rape” in order to protect male “taking” privileges.

    House Democratic women spoke out this past week in a news conference reacting to this assault on Title IX – and decency. From CSPAN:

    “Campus Sexual Assault – Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group held a press conference expressing their disapproval of an Education Department official’s remarks regarding sexual assaults on college campuses. Candice Jackson, head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, had told the New York Times, that “the accusations – 90 percent of them – fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk.’” Though Ms. Jackson later apologized for the remarks, the lawmakers at the press conference said it was part of a pattern of dismissive behavior toward sexual assault victims by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and others in the Education Department. ”

    Transcript of Nancy Pelosi’s remarks.

    Washington – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Rep. Susan Davis, Ranking Member of the Education Committee Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training; Rep. Lois Frankel, Co-Chair of the Democratic Womens’ Working Group; Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Co-Chair of the Democratic Womens’ Working Group; Rep. Jackie Speier, Communications and Policy Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster to respond to reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is moving to weaken federal policies to enforce Title IX and combat campus sexual assault.

    Nancy Pelosi: “Together, Obama and Biden, they expanded Title IX protections and enforcement. They gave survivors hope and courage to come forward but now the Trump Administration is dismantling that progress, which include Title IX protections which include transgender students, cutting funding and staff for the Office of Civil Rights.

    This is inequality, this is injustice, so my comments are about respect for women and strengthening of the Office of Civil Rights of the Education Department, not weakening it. Last month marked the 45th anniversary of Title IX. The stories of how hard it was to pass at the time are legendary, here I won’t go into them, however there has always been this nipping away, with some in Congress who just would like to get rid of it. The sad truth is that women still have faced equity discrimination and harassment. Every woman has a right to feel safe on campus.

    To the survivors and advocates here that we have been meeting with today, we believe you, we will never stop fighting until we wipe out the scourge of sexual assault wherever it may occur. Campus sexual assault is an epidemic in America, it is important to note that it is unacceptable that one-in-four women are sexually assaulted on campus.”

  3. bfitzinAR
    July 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the post – I’ve copied the Weekly Address and put it in the DK Village diary. That’s about the only place a hand out to Rs to work with us will be accepted as the right thing to do and not proof of ebil intent. sigh. Nancy Pelosi is aces on and pretty much always has been. Of course knowing how the system works and working with it towards a common goal is also considered evidence of ebil intent over there. sigh. But the Village, though decimated, is still there. and the community needs stuff, while not as successful as I’d like, is needed. so… I’m glad the Moose Pond is available. thanks again.

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