| January 14, 2020 04:08 PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded the Trump administration brief Congress on a U.S. cybersecurity firm’s assessment that Russia hacked the Ukrainian natural gas company at the center of impeachment.
Echoing her fellow Democrats in the “Gang of Eight,” Pelosi claimed she had no prior knowledge of the Burisma breach and wants to know what U.S. officials may have known about it.
“The president and every Republican senator must explain to the American people why they are refusing to defend our national security and the integrity of our elections,” the California Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. “We only learned of this hacking through the press. Congress must be briefed on what the administration knows about this attack and why the president doesn’t have a plan to protect our elections.”
According to an assessment by Area 1, first reported by the New York Times late Monday, Russian military hackers from the GRU began targeting in November subsidiaries of Burisma, which once employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and Kvartal 95, a Ukrainian television production company founded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm owned by a Ukrainian oligarch, from 2014 to 2019. The impeachment effort began last year after a whistleblower complaint revealed that President Trump pressured Zelensky in a July phone call to open investigations into political rivals, including the Bidens, while withholding congressionally approved military aid. His father, Joe Biden, is now a Democratic candidate for president.
In back-to-back MSNBC appearances Monday evening, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they too only learned of the reported hack through the media. Like Pelosi, they are members of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of leaders from both parties in the House and Senate with access to classified intelligence. Democrats have complained over what they say is the Trump administration’s reluctance to share intelligence, particularly after U.S. officials failed to consult Congress before carrying out a drone strike killing Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Pelosi, who picked Wednesday to appoint Democratic lawmakers to serve as impeachment managers in a Senate trial, also took shots at Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for resisting legislation to improve election security, which has been a priority ever since the U.S. intelligence community determined Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
“The alarming reports that the Russian Government is continuing to interfere in our elections to benefit the president and to undermine our democracy highlight the urgent need for action,” she said.
In a Sunday interview, Pelosi said Trump is “in complete denial” about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 election and accused McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, of being an “accomplice” to Russian interference, claiming that she wonders about his allegiance to the United States.