Hurd, Gowdy, and Other Republicans Block Testimony from Intelligence Director Days After Promising Vigorous Public Oversight
Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2018)—Today, during a hearing on election security before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Trey Gowdy, Subcommittee Chairman Will Hurd, and all other Republicans present voted against a motion offered by Vice Ranking Member Gerry Connolly to subpoena the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to testify before the Committee.
Hurd recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asserting that the Committee should engage in vigorous public oversight of Russia’s influence in our election and President Donald Trump:
“Over the course of my career as an undercover officer in the C.I.A., I saw Russian intelligence manipulate many people. I never thought I would see the day when an American president would be one of them. … I believe that lawmakers must fulfill our oversight duty as well as keep the American people informed of the current danger. … As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I strongly believe in the importance of Congress’s oversight responsibilities and will work with my colleagues to ensure that the administration is taking the Russian threat seriously.”
Similarly, Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday that evidence of Russia’s attack on our country is overwhelming and that President Trump “needs to say that and act like it.”
Given that the Director Coats recently warned that “the warning lights are blinking red” about Russian cyberattacks, Democrats asked Gowdy to invite Coats to testify at today’s hearing. Gowdy refused to even send an invitation. As a result, Connolly offered a motion to subpoena Coats, but Hurd, Gowdy, and all other Republicans present at the hearing voted to table the motion.
Both Cummings and Connolly praised Hurd for his op-ed in the New York Times, but urged him to follow his strong words with action.
Ranking Member Cummings said: “I agree with every syllable Chairman Hurd wrote. I think he is telling the truth. But it would be much more powerful with action to back it up. We need all of our Republican colleagues to conduct oversight—not just use strong words. Support our request to subpoena the Trump Administration for documents it is withholding about Russian attacks. Support our request for the Director of National Intelligence to testify in public. Vote in favor of additional funding for states that desperately need it. We don’t need talk. We need action.”
Ranking Member Connolly said: “Our Committee must act swiftly to determine what would cause President Trump to act in this way, and to what extent President Trump is being manipulated by Putin. To do this, we must immediately hold a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence and others who can inform the Committee and the public about the extent of the Russian threat to our country. … Chairman Hurd explained that our Committee must work to, quote “ensure that the administration is taking the Russian threat seriously” and “fulfill our oversight duty and keep the American people informed of the current danger.”
For the past year and a half, Hurd, Gowdy, and other Committee Republicans have blocked all other motions for subpoenas related to Russia’s interference with U.S. elections, the Trump campaign’s potential collusion or cooperation with those attacks, and contacts between Trump officials and the Russians, including:
- Subpoena to DHS for Documents Being Withheld on Russian Attacks Against States Before Election
- Subpoena to Compel Steve Bannon to Testify on Actions Before, During, and After 2016 Election
- Subpoena to Trump Organization for Documents Withheld on Foreign Payments
- Subpoena to Data Firms for Documents Withheld on Foreign Contacts During Election
- Subpoena to Cambridge Analytica for Documents Withheld on Foreign Employees’ Participation in U.S. Elections
- Subpoena to White House for Documents Withheld on Michael Flynn’s Foreign Contacts
Watch Vice Ranking Member Connolly’s statement on the subpoena motion.