(New York)—As former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before Congress Wednesday, PEN America’s Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. free expression programs, issued the following statement:

“As special counsel and in his testimony today, Robert Mueller has been clear about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election and said this threat deserves our utmost attention. Such interference undermines informed and open public discourse and threatens our democracy. PEN America sounded the alarm on the effect of disinformation in the 2018 midterms in our report Truth on the Ballot. We called on campaigns and candidates to protect our political discourse and commit to not using fraudulent information to distort the election process. As the 2020 election approaches, the fight against election interference and the spread of disinformation must continue. We urge the Democratic and Republican National Committees to discourage and prevent disinformation tactics and to denounce fraudulent news altogether. Our members and allies can sign their names here to support these efforts to hold our leaders to account in the fight for truth in our political process.”

Read our report Truth on the Ballot: Fraudulent News, the Midterm Elections, and Prospects for 2020 here.

See our petition calling on the Republican and Democratic parties to fight against fraudulent news in the 2020 campaign here.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

Contact: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892