Democrats Demand Jeff Sessions Explain What He’s Doing to Stop Russian Interference

In a letter, House members warn the attorney general that “inaction here would be unacceptable.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C., United States, on Nov. 29, 2017.Ting Shen/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are giving Attorney General Jeff Sessions another chance to explain what the Justice Department is doing to protect against Russian interference in elections.

In a Friday letter, 16 Democrats on the panel asked Sessions to brief them by December 14 on vulnerabilities in federal election systems and steps to reduce them, including potential updates to laws, in the wake of the intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia attempted to undermine the 2016 election and help elect President Donald Trump.

The committee members cited a November 15 hearing during which Sessions admitted his department had not done enough to prepare for anticipated Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. In response to a question from Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Mich.), Sessions said he had not acted on a pledge he made at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in October to conduct a review of the issue. “I have not followed through to see where we are on that,” Sessions told Schneider. “I will personally take action to do so.”

“Inaction here would be unacceptable,” the Democrats write. “You have a responsibility to do everything in your power to ensure that our elections are free, fair and void of foreign influence.”


What's going to happen next as the headlines grow crazier and more disconcerting by the day. But we do know the job of an independent, unrelenting press is more important than ever—and the ongoing commitment of MoJo readers to fight for a democracy where facts matter and all can participate is absolutely vital.

If you feel the urgency deep in your bones like we do, please consider signing up as a monthly donor during our fall pledge drive to support Mother Jones' fair and fearless reporting for the long haul (or make a one-time gift if that works better for you). The headlines may fade, but the need to investigate the powerful never will.