CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE CONDEMNS THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT THAT HE WOULD NOT REJECT SOLICITATIONS OF HELP BY FOREIGN ACTORS IN OUR ELECTIONS AND HIS REFUSAL TO UNEQUIVOCALLY STATE WHETHER HE WOULD REPORT SUCH OVERTURES TO THE F.B.I.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robin K. Chand
June 13, 2019 202-225-3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Condemns the President’s Statement that he Would Not Reject Solicitations of Help by Foreign Actors in Our Elections and his Refusal to Unequivocally State Whether He Would Report Such Overtures to the F.B.I.
Jackson Lee: “The administration and its Republican allies neglect the threat posed by hostile foreign governments to our elections and that fact, together with the obligation to state unequivocally that such conduct is wrong, are among the many reasons why I introduced H.R. 2353, the Duty to Refuse and Report Act of 2019, which would require candidates for election for public office to refuse offers of assistance from foreign governments and to report such offers to the F.B.I.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget, released this statement condemning the President’s comments to ABC News stating he would not reject political help from foreign governments:
“I condemn the President’s statements on Wednesday evening to ABC News indicating that he would take derogatory information from a foreign government concerning a political opponent during the midst of a campaign, and his refusal to unequivocally state that he would report such overtures to the F.B.I. To add insult to injury, the President stated that the F.B.I. Director’s prior comments that the Bureau would likely want to know about such overtures were wrong. Such comments by a President of the United States are unpatriotic, ignorant, and reveal a shocking misunderstanding of the motives a foreign government may or could have to interfere in our political process. These motives could range anywhere on the spectrum from rote efforts to reek and crystallize havoc in our political system writ large, or worse, working as an asset of said foreign government upon election and installation into power. These comments by the President were shocking but not surprising, but they nonetheless represent a stunning admission—tacit or otherwise—that the President accepted derogatory information from Russia in the 2016 election.
“Of course it is difficult to ignore the context in which these comments are made: on the same day as his son appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to confront credible and widely-circulated allegations that he lied to that same committee in his last appearance before said committee about offers by Russia to help the Trump Campaign; the Mueller Report’s conclusion that, while a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign could not be conclusively proven, the Trump Campaign encouraged and benefited from efforts to help it at the expense of Secretary Clinton; and, against widespread reports—official and in the press—that the Trump Administration is not taking with sufficient urgency the threat foreign actors play in meddling in our elections. The administration and its Republican allies neglect the threat posed by hostile foreign governments to our elections and that fact, together with the obligation to state unequivocally that such conduct is wrong, are among the many reasons why I introduced H.R. 2353, the Duty to Refuse and Report Act of 2019, which would require candidates for election for public office to refuse offers of assistance from foreign governments and to report such offers to the F.B.I.
“This is a critical moment in the history of our nation. We must not become inured to these affronts to our fundamental institutions of government, and to the pillars of our democracy. Beyond the reasons for which I find these comments outrageous and worthy of condemnation is one fundamental truth: American elections are to be decided by the American people. Anything that interferes with this truth, and our democratic process, should be rejected.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security.