Threat Intelligence, Incident Response, TDR

Senators push for Oversight hearing into Trump’s Russia comments

Two U.S. Senators have asked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Oversight Subcommittee, to hold a hearing that examines Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments last week in which he entreated Russia to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in the letter, “Trump's comments implicate U.S. criminal laws prohibiting engagement with foreign governments that threaten the country's interests, including the Logan Act and the Espionage Act.”

John Wethington, VP of Americas, Ground Labs, believes it is “highly unlikely” that a Senate hearing would find that Trump violated the Espionage Act. In an email to, he called the nearly 100-year-old legislation a “blunt instrument,” but said it is “certainly not one that addresses Trumps comments.”

However, the senators don't agree. “They threaten the privacy of a U.S. citizen and former government official, inviting Russia to engage in conduct that would violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and, if performed by the U.S. government, would contravene the Fourth Amendment,” the senators wrote to Cruz. “Trump has invited foreign interference with the presidential election, which we believe should be carefully guarded against under U.S. law.”

Trump's comments referred to Hillary Clinton's deleted personal emails and came shortly after the FBI launched an investigation into the 19,252 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks late last month.

While Trump's jab at Clinton makes light of the breach, it also underscores the general indifference toward government cybersecurity failures.

A Senate hearing would be unlikely to prompt changes to the Logan Act or the Espionage Act, according to a former defense department official speaking off the record with Despite this, the former official said the likelihood of a Senate hearing is high “considering the political atmosphere” of the presidential campaign.

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