Jul 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats ask FBI for briefing on foreign interference campaign targeting Congress

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking at a press conference
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Top Democrats in the House and Senate have written a letter requesting that the FBI provide Congress with a defensive counterintelligence briefing regarding what appears to be a "concerted foreign interference campaign" targeting Congress.

Why it matters: U.S. intelligence officials have warned that Russia, China and other foreign adversaries are actively seeking to interfere in the 2020 elections. The Kremlin engaged in misinformation and hacking campaigns in 2016 in an effort to tilt the election to President Trump.

  • The specifics of how Congress is being targeted were not immediately clear, but the Democrats said the alleged campaign seeks to "launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November."
  • The July 13 letter, which was released on Monday, was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.).

Between the lines: "To ensure a clear and unambiguous record of the counterintelligence threats of concern, the four enclosed with the letter a classified addendum that draws, in large part, from the Executive Branch’s own reporting and analysis," a congressional official told Axios.

  • "The counterintelligence experts at the FBI must provide the full Congress with a defensive counterintelligence briefing on these threats before the August recess."

Read the letter via DocumentCloud.

Go deeper