Rubio: Senate Intel Still Gets In-Person Election Security Briefings Despite Ratcliffe’s Order

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives for the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) arrives for the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on February 11, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday claimed that DNI John Ratcliffe will continue holding election security briefings with the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, despite Ratcliffe telling Congress last week that he would halt the in-person briefings due to lawmakers allegedly leaking classified information.

Rubio, who serves as the interim chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Spectrum News on Wednesday that he expects the GOP-led panel to continue receiving in-person briefings even after a House Intelligence Committee briefing was canceled.

Rubio said that because the Senate Intelligence Committee oversees the intelligence community, “they can’t tell us they’re not coming in to talk to us.”

“I don’t care what the letter says. They can’t do that and they’re not going to do that, is what I’ve been told,” Rubio said.

Rubio added that the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue to schedule the in-person election security briefings and that the panel expects “them to come in and to provide us that information and answer our questions in person.”

Last week, Ratcliffe’s directive drew outrage from Democratic members as a House Intelligence Committee’s previously scheduled briefing was canceled. Ratcliffe cited concerns over lawmakers allegedly leaking classified information as the rationale behind his move to instead provide them with written intelligence reports.

Rubio’s latest remarks come days after he said that congressional oversight is “facing a historic crisis” in light of Ratcliffe’s directive.

“Intelligence agencies have a legal obligation to keep Congress informed of their activities,” Rubio said in a statement on Saturday.

Rubio’s interview with Spectrum News also comes a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealed in a letter that Ratcliffe and his office had “proactively” scheduled two election-security briefings for later this month — one for the Intelligence Committee on Sept. 17 and another series for the full House on Sept. 24-25 — and urged Ratcliffe to reinstate those briefings.

Along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Schiff floated the possibility of issuing a subpoena or using the Sept. 30 government funding deadline as leverage if Ratcliffe refuses to reinstate the previously scheduled briefings.

“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,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote.

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