'Complete outrage' over in-person election security briefings to Congress ceasing: Sen. Klobuchar

The intelligence community cited concerns over leaks after in-person briefings.

August 30, 2020, 4:00 PM

It is a "complete outrage" that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced that the intelligence community will cease in-person election security briefings to Congress, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

"I think the House is going to have to subpoena the director of intelligence in order to get information, which is crazy," Klobuchar told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Ratcliffe informed Congress Saturday that the intelligence community would cease in-person election security briefings, citing concern over "unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information."

Klobuchar's comments came as a response to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf who said in an earlier "This Week" interview, "I have seen and others have seen (classified) information leaked time and time again. So what (Ratcliffe) indicated is he's going to provide that information and those briefings to Congress in a written, finished intelligence product and continue to provide them the information that they need to do their jobs."

The intelligence community's announcement Saturday was met with swift and stern backlash from congressional Democrats.

"We are just a few months out of a major election, and I have already experienced this White House blocking my bipartisan election security bill, which would have helped us years ago to beef up our efforts. So, in the words of Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, when it comes to this White House, all roads lead to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. That is exactly what's going on here," Klobuchar told Karl.

Earlier this month, the U.S. intelligence community released a public statement that Russia, China and Iran are trying to interfere in presidential politics ahead of November -- with efforts by Russia to advance President Donald Trump's reelection.

The announcement from the director of intelligence comes as the Republican National Convention wrapped up this week, where Trump attempted to tie violence in American cities to the Democrats.

"There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America. This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to," the president said during his keynote speech Thursday.

When Karl asked Klobuchar for her reaction to claims that Trump supporters were intimated by demonstrators while they left the White House Thursday night, Klobuchar broadly criticized violence following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"I have long condemned looting, violence, threats. That's not peaceful protest, and I don't care who is engaging in it, you condemn it. And of course Joe Biden has clearly condemned it, but let's step back. This isn't just happening in one place, it's happening all over the country, it is happening under Donald Trump's watch," the Minnesota senator said.

Among the clashes in the wake of Blake's shooting, two protesters were killed and a 17-year-old was charged in their deaths.

"We are not safe in Donald Trump's America," Klobuchar continued, citing an increase in hate crimes and the staggering coronavirus deaths. "We are not more safe. And I think Joe Biden has a very strong case to make about the changes he will make to make this country more safer. We have not seen this with this president."

When Karl pressed Klobuchar about what a potential Biden administration would do to confront violence, the Minnesota senator said, "(We need) to make very clear that we condemn violence. We condemn looting. And that has happened repeatedly."

Ultimately, the Minnesota senator said Trump's strategy to connect Biden to recent instances of violence only served to "wreak havoc."

"I think that Americans, especially in the Midwest ... favor a government that's going to work for them, they're going to want to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They don't want four more years of this chaos," Klobuchar said.

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