Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after news reports indicated that a Russian spy operation targeted coalition troops in Afghanistan, including bounties on American soldiers.

“Recent reports that a Russian military intelligence unit paid the Taliban to attack Americans and coalition partners are deeply concerning. The U.S. intelligence community reportedly informed the Trump administration of this assessment as early as late March. Acting on this information could have saved lives. Yet, President Trump claims he had no prior knowledge of the bounties that Russia placed on American soldiers. That excuse only gives rise to more questions. Why didn’t the President receive a briefing on such a highly sensitive subject? Was this information included in the Presidential Daily briefing? If not, why not? Was this information shared with our military leaders?  

“Those who serve our country in a combat zone voluntarily put themselves in harm's way. We must do everything we can to support them. If the reports are true, that the Administration knew about this Russian operation and did nothing, they have broken the trust of those who serve and the commitment to their families to ensure their loved one’s safety.

“It is imperative that the House Armed Services Committee receive detailed answers from the Department of Defense. The American people – and our service members – deserve to know the truth about what the White House knew about these Russian operations that may have directly resulted in the deaths of American service members. We must find out exactly what was known, and when it was known, to hold the appropriate Administration officials and the Russian government accountable.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement on D.C. statehood after the House passed H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act:

“Washington, D.C. residents pay federal taxes, serve on juries, and serve our country, yet residents are barred from having a vote in Congress. With statehood, the 700,000 American citizens who live in the District of Columbia would have the same voting and representational rights as members from every other state in the Union. It is unacceptable that the United States is the only democratic country in the world that denies full democratic rights to its citizens living in the nation’s capital.

“The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would establish the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state in the Union, giving residents the protections and equal representation they deserve. I am proud to join Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton on this bill to correct the injustice citizens who live in our nation’s capital have faced for decades. We must pass this bill so that D.C. residents are granted full local self-government and Congressional representation.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:

“America is experiencing a moment of profound pain and sadness as we grieve for George Floyd and countless others killed by police brutality and racial injustice. George Floyd was killed one month ago today and since then, Americans from every walk of life across the country have been protesting and demanding action and change. Systemic racism continues to permeate all corners of our country’s institutions, burdening so many Black Americans and other communities of color. Today we honor the lives of all killed by police brutality with real change.

“The Justice in Policing Act is a bold step to enact comprehensive reforms to curb police brutality and end racial profiling. It provides accountability and transparency to fundamentally change the culture of law enforcement. While this bill is an essential step, our work is far from finished. This is but one step in the much larger process of ensuring justice and equality for all. I will continue to work towards the dramatic changes required in all aspects of our society to end systemic racism and excessive police force in our country.

“This bill would ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants and hold police accountable by ending qualified immunity for law enforcement. It would also establish a national standard for the operation of police departments, mandate data collection on police encounters, reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs, and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

“We must reimagine public safety in an equitable way to empower our communities. This bill supports critical programs to change the culture of law enforcement and reinvests in our communities by establishing public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations, local commissions, and task forces.

“I stand proudly with my colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and will continue to work together to advance this transformative legislation. However, there is still much more work to be done. Hate and racism have no place in our country – I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for racial justice and end police brutality.”

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SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement in honor of Juneteenth after attending a rally organized at Judkins Park in Seattle’s Central District to discuss police reform and accountability:

“On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free – two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, and we commemorate this end of slavery 155 years later. However, this day comes during a moment of profound sadness as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. The fight for justice and equality is still ongoing and systemic change is long overdue.

“Juneteenth marks one of the most important moments in our country's history with the end of slavery and symbolizes the beginning of freedom for so many Black Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to fight hate and racism and I will not stop until every American has equal opportunities to succeed.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the Navy concluded an additional investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:

“The severity of the COVID spread on the Roosevelt, coupled with the fact that it was the first major outbreak DoD faced, warranted thorough investigation. The findings in the Navy’s extended investigation makes it clear that the Navy did not respond the way they should have, or as quickly as they should have, to adequately address the outbreak.

“Everyone up and down the chain of command had a role to play in the inadequate response – including then-Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly. The Department’s civilian leadership portrayed Captain Crozier’s decision-making aboard the Roosevelt as the critical weakness in the Navy’s response, but the truth is that civilian leadership was also to blame.

“In order to better understand the full range of mistakes that were made throughout the entire chain of command, the House Armed Services Committee has launched an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Roosevelt.

“While the committee works on our own investigation, it is my hope that the Navy will learn from this series of mistakes. Modly’s incredibly poor decision to relieve Captain Crozier because of an email was only made worse by his equally poor decision to visit the ship and berate the commander after he left. Modly’s bad decision-making underscores the importance of sound civilian leadership at the Department. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The Navy and DoD will continue to grapple with the challenges presented by the pandemic for months to come. Civilian leadership at the Department of the Defense is crucial to our national security, and as such they must be held accountable as we move forward.”

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