Sep 28, 2019

FEC chair claims GOP commissioner blocked memo about foreign election interference

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub (L). Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub took to Twitter on Friday night to share a memo about prohibited electoral activity by foreign nationals that she says a Republican commissioner blocked from being published in a public weekly digest.

Why it matters: Weintraub's decision to share the memo about foreign involvement in U.S. elections comes as a whistleblower alleges President Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The complaint was referred by the director of national intelligence for investigation as a possible campaign finance violation, but was dismissed by the Justice Department. Its claims about Trump and Ukraine are now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.

What she's saying: Weintraub published her memo as a Twitter thread, with 57 posts in total.

  • Weintraub tweeted: "GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter took the altogether unprecedented step of objecting to its being added to the Digest and blocked publication of the whole."
  • The memo focuses on the illegality of foreign nationals donating to American elections and defines various key terms used in the statute, such as "contribution," "anything of value" and "solicit."

Go deeper: FEC effectively shuts down after key resignation

Go deeper

Trump's trifecta

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

For the 3rd time in 4 years, President Trump has asked another country to interfere in U.S. elections.

The big picture: In July 2016, Trump said Russia should "find" and release Hillary Clinton's emails. In July 2019, he told Ukraine to investigate the Biden family. And today, even as he finds himself embroiled in an impeachment inquiry over this very issue, Trump said that China, too, should investigate the Bidens.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019

Pompeo: New Russia sanctions show U.S. won't tolerate election meddling

Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. would impose more sanctions targeting Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian businessman known as "Putin's chef," for election interference activities carried out by his troll farm.

The big picture: Prigozhin and his social media manipulation operation, the Internet Research Agency, were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018 for election meddling. The additional sanctions come in the wake of a whistleblower's allegations that President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit 2020 election interference from Ukraine, which are now at the heart of a formal impeachment inquiry.

The backdropArrowSep 30, 2019

First look: Democratic memo examines voters' views on Trump impeachment

A memo from GQR about a nationwide survey sponsored by sponsored by Stand Up America and Need to Impeach found that Americans "view the Ukraine events as much stronger reasons to support impeachment than the Mueller report and evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections."

Why it matters: The memo says the Ukraine scandal has "fundamentally different dynamics" than the debates about the Mueller report, which could pose a stronger challenge to the Trump administration.

Read the memoArrowOct 11, 2019