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Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the committee will still receive in-person briefings on election-security issues, despite a recent directive from the Trump administration barring them, Politico reports.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe informed congressional committees at the end of August that in-person briefings covering election security will no longer take place and lawmakers will instead receive written intelligence reports. Democrats say that suspending in-person briefings will allow Ratcliffe to skirt accountability and avoid questions.

  • Democratic leaders have demanded that Ratcliffe reinstate the meetings.

The big picture: Election security questions loom as Nov. 3 inches closer. More Americans than ever are expected to mail in ballots as the coronavirus pandemic persists and voters try to avoid possible exposure. There are also worries that foreign powers could intervene in the upcoming election as they did in 2016.

What they're saying: "We are going to continue to schedule these briefings, as we do on a regular basis throughout the year, and we expect them to come in and provide us that information and answer our questions in person," Rubio told Spectrum News.

  • "They can't tell us they're not coming in to talk to us. I don't care what a letter says. They can't do that, and they're not going to do that is what I've been told," Rubio added.

Top House Democrats in a letter to Ratcliffe on Tuesday called for "parity" between the two chambers, alluding to fears that the Democratic-led panel could be shut out of in-person briefings while the Republican-led Senate Intel Committee would still receive them.

  • “If you are unwilling to resume election-related intelligence briefings to Congress, we will have no choice but to consider the full range of tools available to compel compliance,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Pete Visclosky wrote.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.