Fighting Back: “We believe that Americans should decide American elections.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Adam Schiff of California regarding the very real threat of foreign influence in the 2020 election as Russians once again pick Donald Trump as their preferred candidate.

(Chairman Adam Schiff discussed the ongoing threat of foreign interference in our elections and the proactive measures necessary to counter such efforts)

The Russians are once again intent on interfering in our presidential election. They are likely to use some of the same tactics they used in 2016, but we must also be on guard for new efforts to influence the outcome this fall.[…]

As significant as the threat of foreign interference is to our elections, there is something even more dangerous to the health of our democracy. And that is domestic efforts [by the Republican Party] to prevent Americans from voting by closing down polling stations, limiting the days and time for voting, imposing deliberately burdensome voter ID requirements, purging voter rolls and discrediting, in advance, the votes of millions of Americans who must vote-by-mail during a pandemic.[…] [Donald Trump and his political party] may try to tear down our democracy, but we will build it up. And come November, we will make sure of one thing – that Americans decide American elections.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Chairman Adam Schiff Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello. I’m Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“It was almost exactly four years ago that we first began to see evidence that Russia was interfering in our democracy and seeking to influence our elections. It was shocking and, at the time, unprecedented.

“Directed by Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, Russian intelligence officers hacked Democratic emails and dumped them on the web to assist the Trump campaign. In addition, Kremlin-backed trolls in St. Petersburg used social media to stoke racial division, spread misinformation, damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and our democracy.

“The lights were flashing red, then. And they are flashing red, now. The Russians are once again intent on interfering in our presidential election. They are likely to use some of the same tactics they used in 2016, but we must also be on guard for new efforts to influence the outcome this fall.

“U.S. persons, including elected officials, may be a target of a foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder or amplify disinformation to affect our public debate, discourse and decision as to who should be the next President of the United States.

“Notwithstanding the growing evidence of this threat, what is President Trump doing to discourage these efforts to meddle in our democratic affairs? I will tell you. Nothing. Not one thing, quite the contrary.

“In the face of continued foreign interference, and with a President who refuses to do anything to stop it, how do we protect our democracy? How do we protect the bedrock principle of our constitutional compact, that Americans decide American elections?

“Here’s how: first, we deter foreign interference from any nation by exposing it and making it clear that there will be serious consequences for any who try to meddle. Second, we disrupt it by any means necessary. Third, we arm the American people with good information to help prevent the spread of lies and disinformation. And finally, we vote. We vote.

“Because as significant as the threat of foreign interference is to our elections, there is something even more dangerous to the health of our democracy. And that is domestic efforts to prevent Americans from voting by closing down polling stations, limiting the days and time for voting, imposing deliberately burdensome voter ID requirements, purging voter rolls and discrediting, in advance, the votes of millions of Americans who must vote-by-mail during a pandemic.

“For months now, President Trump has sought to undermine the votes of millions by casting doubt on a form of voting he uses himself, vote-by-mail. And the president knows exactly what he’s doing.

“By suppressing the vote and seeking to disenfranchise people, he is trying to help himself, not the nation. By attacking vote-by-mail, by forcing people to choose between their health and their vote, he is trying to help himself, not the nation. And by seeking to discredit the results of our election before it even takes place, he’s trying to help himself, not the nation.

“Doing all of these things and at the same time, Donald Trump may end up doing more damage than any foreign government could by refusing to accept the results of the election or allowing a peaceful transition of power. If this is his ambition, he will not succeed.

“This week, we lost a pioneer, a leader and a giant on whose shoulders we all stand – Congressman John Lewis. His memory is a blessing to all of us, and must be a guiding light. He was the conscience of the Congress and, more than that, he was my friend.

“And while we honor him with our words, we must also honor him with our action – by speaking up and speaking out, by fighting against voter suppression, by fighting for the right to vote for all Americans and by casting that vote.

“The President may try to tear down our democracy, but we will build it up. And come November, we will make sure of one thing – that Americans decide American elections.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.

In anticipation of seeing a proposal finally from the other side of the aisle and the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, I invited the distinguished Leader and the Democratic Leader in the Senate to join us today to have some observation about what we have seen – we thought we would have in hand; we’ll see.

We come together today on a day that marks – for the eighteenth-straight week, the eighteenth-straight week, more than one million people have filed for unemployment claims. We come at a time when, today, they predict that we will reach, they predict that we will reach four million cases in our country.

What’s important about that is the steamroller that it is, the acceleration that this has. It doesn’t diminish because people have filed for Unemployment Insurance so we must have reached the peak. It continues. This is the Trump virus acceleration of all of this.

Now, listen to this. It took just about 100 days to reach one million people infected. It took 43 days to get to two million. It took 27 days to get to three million. And it took sixteen days to get to four million. That acceleration is an assault on the lives and the livelihood of the American people. If we want to open our schools, if we want to open our economy, we must defeat this virus.

We had hoped with this legislation, The Heroes Act – we put forth ours two months and one week ago. They said they needed ‘a pause.’ Well, they still are not prepared. They didn’t use the pause to prepare. And what we have seen so far falls very short of the challenge that we face in order to defeat the virus and to – in order to open our schools and to open our economy.

Science, science, science and science. Seems to be ignored. The delay, the denial have caused deaths. We can do something about it, but we must have the appropriate response to it in terms of testing, tracing, treating, just dealing with the virus and not ignoring and saying, ‘Well, too many tests,’ and ‘I don’t believe in tests,’ and all the rest of that.

So we have a real challenge. Forgetting politics, forgetting partisanship, this is patriotism for our country. We’re up to four million people in a matter of just over two weeks from the three million mark. We have to act, and what they are proposing falls far short.

With that, I want to yield to the distinguished Ranking – Leader in the Senate, who has been – well, he’ll describe to you what he has been up to. But I salute him and the Senate Democrats for the work that they have done to make sure that the first four COVID bills were all bipartisan. Hopefully, this bill will be too.

Mr. Leader.

Leader Schumer. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, and thank you for all the great work you have done on so many things and now, most notably, The Heroes bill, which our Senate Democratic Caucus is in full support of.

Now, faced with the greatest economic challenge in 75 years, the greatest public health challenge in a century, Democrats have waited for months for our Senate colleagues to go – our Senate Republican colleagues to get serious about helping the American people who have suffered so much during this pandemic.

Now that Senate Republicans have finally woken up to the calamity in our country, they have been so divided, so disorganized, so unprepared that they have struggled to even draft a partisan proposal within their own conference. They can’t come together.

Even after all this time, it appears the Republican legislative response to COVID is un-unified, unserious, unsatisfactory. The Republican disarray and dithering has serious, potentially deadly consequences for tens of millions of Americans; 1.4 million Americans implied – applied for unemployment last week, the first time the number rose since March. Tomorrow, the moratorium on evictions expires, exposing millions of Americans to the risk of being kicked out of their homes through no fault of their own. And over the weekend, many states will send out their final enhanced unemployment checks.

But here we are, still waiting for the Republicans to put together a partisan bill that will never become law, just so they can muster up the courage to negotiate. And now we’re hearing that the Republicans may only be able to produce a series of disjointed small proposals that don’t even add up to a coherent plan to fight COVID.

From what we’ve read in public reports, their proposals or series of proposals, won’t include food assistance for hungry kids. From what we know, it won’t include rental assistance or extend the moratorium on evictions, keeping tens of millions of Americans with a roof over their heads. It won’t provide hazard pay to essential workers who have been risking their lives and their families’ lives since the crisis began. It won’t make the necessary investments in communities of color that have been ravaged by this virus, disproportionately so. It won’t provide new funding for state and local governments and the need to keep teachers and bus drivers and sanitation workers on the job. And from what we know, it won’t even include funding to ensure our elections are safe this fall.

Remarkably, the likely centerpiece of the Republican legislative response to COVID is not help for the 20 to 30 million unemployed Americans or resources for testing and tracing. The centerpiece of the Republican proposal is a liability shield to protect big corporations from lawsuits if they put their workers at risk. Seriously, Leader McConnell has made corporate immunity the centerpiece of the Republican response? Once again, the Republican Senate is far more comfortable providing relief to big corporations than relief to workers and families.

How about instead of shielding corporations from liability, we shield renters from eviction? How about instead of shielding corporations from liability, we shield the unemployed from poverty?

According to reports, the White House and Senate Republicans want to cut the enhanced unemployment benefits that Democrats secured in the CARES Act to a percentage of a worker’s former wage. That’s right, America, if you lost your job through no fault of your own and can’t go back to work because this Administration has mismanaged the crisis, Republicans want you to take a pay cut of 30 percent or even more.

The number of unemployment claims, unfortunately, increased this week for the first time in fifteen weeks, and Republicans are fighting with themselves over how much to cut unemployment benefits. They’re totally disorganized. They’re disconnected from the reality Americans are confronting.

Every day, Republicans fight among themselves over how low to go, and hardworking Americans continue to suffer. Democrats are ready to work. Republicans need to pull their head out of the sand, get their act together, sit down with Speaker Pelosi and me and start negotiating a real package.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Leader. You spelled it out perfectly.

And when I’m listening to you, I’m thinking, what is it that the Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress have against working families in our country? As they sit around their table and join their corporate friends at the corporate board table, we have to be thinking about what’s going on at the kitchen table of America’s families.

Many more people than ever, many people who never thought they would, are going to food banks, and, yet, this legislation that they’re proffering has nothing to address food insecurity in our country. And it’s about our children too. Millions and millions of children are food insecure, yet nothing there for that. And, as the Leader said, in terms of rent, people will be in the streets, the evictions will continue, and, yet, in our bill, we have a proposal, which does just that, modeled after some past initiatives for emergency security.

So, in The Heroes Act, we have, as you know, honor our heroes, which, as the Leader said, their bill does not. Health care workers, transit workers, our first responders, food suppliers, sanitation workers and the rest. Nix; they say no to that.

In terms of what we have to do to address the virus, they are scientifically in absentia. They just don’t get it. They don’t believe in science. They don’t believe in governance. So, why should they pay attention to science and do something in governance about it? So they make a token thing. And now they’re saying, ‘Well, we’re going to use some of the money we did before,’ which they didn’t spend before.

So, this is a crisis. This is a crisis for our country. I had hoped that, as we do in legislating, when they offered their bills before, they offered their first version of the CARES Act, we countered. When they offered the next version of the PPP, we countered. We offered this legislation. We thought they would counter with something that was at least reconcilable. But this doesn’t reconcile with the needs of the American people. It is another example of their dereliction in duty for not facing the reality of what this virus is doing to our – to the lives, the livelihood and, actually, the life of our democracy.

Speaker Pelosi. With that, we’re pleased to take any questions you may have.

Yes, ma’am.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Here are the plans for honoring the life and legacy of Rep. John Lewis.

Dear Colleague to All Members on Arrangements for Congressman John Lewis to Lie in State

July 24, 2020

Dear Colleague,

As Leader McConnell and I announced yesterday evening, our beloved Congressman John Lewis will return to Washington to lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda next week, with an arrival ceremony being held on Monday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m.

We are honored to have this opportunity to say goodbye, and to do so in a setting befitting John’s greatness.

For more details, please consult the attached guidance from the Office of the Sergeant at Arms, developed in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician and Congressional Leadership. This information can be helpful in responding to staff and constituent requests.

Due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, ability to participate in the Rotunda and Statuary Hall will be greatly limited. Members who are in Washington who wish to pay their respects are encouraged to watch the arrival ceremony from their offices. Once the ceremony concludes, Members will be called in the same order used for votes to proceed from the Floor to the Rotunda to pay their respects. As always, social distancing will be enforced. The public viewing will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Constraints, while unfortunate, are in accordance with the wishes of John’s family and with the advice of public health experts.

Thank you for your understanding during this sad time.
Nancy

~

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “We believe that Americans should decide American elections.”

  1. JanF
    July 25, 2020 at 8:04 am

    The Republicans refuse to specifically identify the threats as Russian threats. We need to continue to remind people that Russia wins – and America loses – when Putin’s chosen candidate succeeds.

    Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Warner Joint Statement Following ODNI Announcement Regarding Election Security and Foreign Threats

    July 24, 2020
    Washington, DC – Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) issued a joint statement following the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) releasing an update on election security and foreign threats one hundred days before the election:

    “Almost exactly four years ago, we first observed the Russians engaging in covert actions designed to influence the presidential race in favor of Donald Trump and to sow discord in the United States. Now, the Russians are once again trying to influence the election and divide Americans, and these efforts must be deterred, disrupted and exposed.

    The statement just released by NCSC Director William Evanina does not go nearly far enough in arming the American people with the knowledge they need about how foreign powers are seeking to influence our political process. The statement gives a false sense of equivalence to the actions of foreign adversaries by listing three countries of unequal intent, motivation and capability together. The statement, moreover, fails to fully delineate the goal, nature, scope and capacity to influence our election, information the American people must have as we go into November. To say without more, for example, that Russia seeks to ‘denigrate what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment’ in America’ is so generic as to be almost meaningless. The statement omits much on a subject of immense importance.

    “In our letter two weeks ago, we called on the FBI to provide a defensive briefing to the entire Congress about specific threats related to a concerted foreign disinformation campaign, and this is more important than ever. But a far more concrete and specific statement needs to be made to the American people, consistent with the need to protect sources and methods. We can trust the American people with knowing what to do with the information they receive and making those decisions for themselves. But they cannot do so if they are kept in the dark about what our adversaries are doing, and how they are doing it. When it comes to American elections, Americans must decide.”

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  2. JanF
    July 25, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Here is some pretty good “Fighting Back”!

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