Democrat Senators refused to show up to an election security hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon in an effort to boycott efforts by President Trump and Republicans to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina was expected to testify and is leading the U.S. response to attacks on election security from foreign entities.
"This afternoon, Senator Schumer’s political histrionics reached unprecedented new heights, blocking a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on counterintelligence that would have featured the testimony of Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina. Director Evanina, the nation’s top counterintelligence official who is also leading efforts to protect the November elections, would have testified on overall counterintelligence efforts, which play a critical role in protecting our elections and politics from malign foreign influence," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office released in a statement. "Even more hypocritically, just days ago, Senator Schumer stated that hearings like the one he just blocked were vital to “protect our democracy.” Now, the Democratic Leader has sacrificed today’s hearing, just 42 days before the election, in favor of a shameful political stunt."
"Tomorrow, the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee are scheduled to receive briefings from top intelligence and military officials on efforts to protect our election – unless Senator Schumer again objects to the Senate doing its job," the statement continues.
Senator Marco Rubio, the Acting Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, attempted to conduct the hearing when Schumer objected.
"I ask unanimous consent that the Intelligence Committee be authorized to meet today with the Director of National Counterintelligence who's also leading the election security efforts on behalf of the Office of Director of National Intelligence, that that meeting occur during today's session of the Senate,” Rubio stated.
"Reserving the right to object, because the Senate Republicans have no respect for the institution, we won't have business as usual here in the Senate. I object,” Schumer responded.
“Is there objection?”— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 22, 2020
Because the Senate Republicans have no respect for the institution, we won’t have business as usual here in the Senate.
I object. pic.twitter.com/USxkHHJ8hV
Schumer's temper tantrum comes after months of demanding Republicans hold hearings on the issue. His boycott also comes after years of Democrats accusing President Trump and Republicans of not taking election security seriously.
"Just a few weeks ago Democrats were demanding Intel briefings. Now, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting partisan politics ahead of secure elections. We know that Vladimir Putin and Chairman Xi are looking to sow more distrust and chaos in America as we turn towards the ballot box. Schumer’s tantrum is short-sighted and despicable,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse released in a statement responding to Schumer's behavior.