Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told CNN Thursday morning that the U.S. is currently in a cyber-war with Russia and "because our commander in chief is compromised, the federal government is asleep at the switch."
ALYSON CAMEROTA, CNN: I want to ask about the values you stated for the DNC moving forward. As we all know, Russians hacked into the DNC computers and changed the course of the election. Maybe not the outcome, but certainly the course of American history. Everyone is grappling with this and what to do.
You put out a statement saying: "The Democratic National Committee won't encourage the theft of private data, nor will we seek out or weaponize stolen private data for political gain. And I'm calling on you to put country above party and publicly pledge that the Republican National Committee will do the same."
Here is the statement we received from the RNC on that topic. They say: "Any breach of our political organizations regardless of party is an affront to all of us. We should come together as Americans to prevent it from ever happening again. It is important we do all we can to safeguard our future elections."
Are you satisfied?
TOM PEREZ, NC CHAIR: Of course not. This should be a lay-up. What the vice president's video points out is Charlottesville should have been a lay-up for President Trump. That wasn't right versus left that was about right versus wrong.
What we saw in the 2016 election, a foreign adversary, our fiercest foreign adversary, attempted to interfere with our election to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. What we said in 2016... Don't use stolen information. That's what we're saying again.
CAMEROTA: It sounds like they are saying that. When they say it is an affront to all of us, it sounds like they are saying that
PEREZ: Then you see the reporting in yesterday's news about the former Homeland Security secretary who expressed concerns about this happening again and was told, you can't bring it up in front of Donald Trump.
We are at war now. It is a cyber war. Unfortunately, because our commander in chief is compromised, the federal government is asleep at the switch. That's why the DNC and others in the Democratic Party eco-system are working tirelessly to make sure we are protecting our data, we're working with every campaign to provide cybersecurity training because we can't expect help from the administration.
CAMEROTA: What if you get something juicy like President Trump's taxes? Then should one of the Democratic candidates be able to air those?
PEREZ: That will be the product of a subpoena process.
CAMEROTA: Maybe. Maybe it will be leaked. What if it's leaked to you? Are you saying the Democrats shouldn't use that?
PEREZ: Well, again, we are entitled to that. If you look at the law that chairman Neil of the House Ways and Means Committee is using. It's clear. It doesn't say you are entitled to taxes except for the taxes of the president of the United States.
CAMEROTA: I just mean the tactics. You're sticking with this, even if you get juicy oppo research of some kind about President Trump through ill-gotten tactics, somehow you are sticking with this position?
PEREZ: Here's what I'm sticking with. This isn't about right versus left. This is right versus wrong. A foreign adversary, Russia, they hacked the DNC and others. They did so with the intent to interfere with our presidential election. What we said in the letter is when we have such activity, if someone calls you and tells you, I'm going to rob a bank, your response should be, I'm going to call the authorities. When the Russians called Donald Trump and said, I have dirt on Hillary Clinton they should have called the authorities. Instead, they said, tell us what you've got. That's not right. What we are seeing is we need to restore the basic institutions of our democracy. That should have been a lay-up. The Homeland Security Secretary wasn't even allowed to bring it up. We are at war. Our commander in chief is compromised and that's a problem. That's what we are trying to address.