Last month, I tracked a disturbing exchange between Dan Coats and Martin Heinrich regarding whether any of the efforts to tamper with this year’s election succeeded.
At the Global Threats hearing on January 29, Heinrich asked Coats whether the committee was going to get the results of the assessment of whether any of the tampering had had an effect. A week later, DOJ and DHS issued a report saying “no harm no foul.” Then 10 days later, the entire Senate Intelligence Committee wrote Coats a letter asking for DNI’s findings.
That troubling exchange took place against another one, revealed in a letter sent yesterday from Heinrich, Ron Wyden, and Kamala Harris.
On September 26, 2018, Trump mucked up a UN meeting by claiming, without evidence, that China was tampering in the 2018 midterms. The Democratic Senators apparently asked Dan Coats about it, and he issued a classified response on October 31. During the same Global Threat Hearing where Heinrich raised the general assessment in open session, the Senators raised the China accusation in the closed session. In response, Coats sent a letter on February 8, basically covering for Trump.
As early as August, during a press conference, I stated that Russia was not the only country that had an interest in trying to influence our domestic political environment and that we knew others had the capability and may be considering influence activities. On October 19, 2018 and again on November 5, 2018 my office, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security, released public statements detailing ongoing campaigns by Russia, China, and other foreign actors, including Iran, to influence public sentiment and government policies and undermine democratic institutions.
But that’s not what the Senators were getting at in their request. In yesterday’s letter, they noted,
The October 31, 2018, letter includes important information about the 2018 elections, as well as the 2016 elections, which your February 8, 2019 letter did not address.
That is, there’s something — apparently about both the 2018 and the 2016 elections — that Coats is hiding, information that surely would embarrass Trump.
And Coats isn’t giving it to us.
Given that just Democratic Senators are on the request (unlike the earlier request), this one seems to amount to Coats running partisan interference to prevent Trump from being embarrassed. Which, if true, would mean that the head of the Intelligence Community is using classification to hide the fact that the President is making bullshit claims about our elections.