Congresswomen to Trump: Appoint an Election Security Czar

Rice and Stefanik send a letter to the president as talk of Russia grips House floor

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republicans' last month. Stefanik and Rep. Kathleen Rice wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to appoint an elections security coordinator.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two New York congresswomen on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to appoint an election security czar to combat election meddling.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter calling for a “centralized, senior position” to knock down “silos” and bring together efforts at federal agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. 

The bipartisan letter comes as Congress continues to grapple with the president’s repeated denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election and his performance at Tuesday’s press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The issue of election security gripped the House floor on Thursday, as Democrats chanted “USA, USA” after a fiery speech by Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who challenged Republicans to fund new election security grants.

Congress must “slam the door in the face of the Russian bear,” Hoyer said.

“The flashing red light calls us to action,” he shouted, referring to comments made by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on cyberthreats facing the United States.

[From the Archives: 10 Things Dan Coats Will Miss Now That He’s Banned From Russia]

While Coats said last week that the “warning lights are blinking red again” and that “the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” Trump has appeared to contradict that assessment.

With the midterm elections are four months away, Rice and Stefanik are calling for the president to take “immediate action to combat” the threat of other nation’s interference. “Elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Rice and Stefanik state in their letter. 

Watch: Trump Says He ‘Misspoke’ on Russian Election Meddling

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