Senate Intelligence report on Russian meddling sounds alarm for 2020

  • Politico | by: MARTIN MATISHAK |
  • 07/27/2019 12:00 AM
The Senate Intelligence Committee outlined the dire need for the U.S. to better defend elections against attacks such as the massive campaign Russia carried out to disrupt the 2016 vote.

In a 67-page report issued Thursday, a day after special counsel Robert Mueller warned about Moscow's ongoing efforts to disrupt American democracy, the committee detailed the vast variety of ways that Russia attempted to manipulate the election by attacking state election systems as early as 2014 and executing a campaign to spread disinformation.

Much of the information in the heavily redacted document has come out in previous reports on Russian interference, and charges against the Kremlin's trolls and hackers that stemmed from Mueller's investigation, which found last year that the effort to sabotage the presidential election cost millions of dollars, may have employed hundreds of people and included fake political rallies staged on U.S. soil. But Thursday's Senate catalog of offenses arrives as many in Congress are pushing for legislation to shore up U.S. election systems against foreign cyberattacks only to face Republican opposition to the measures.

Mueller made a plea for the U.S. to quickly move to protect elections during his Wednesday testimony in the House. "Whatever legislation will encourage us to working together — the FBI, CIA, NSA and the rest — should be pursued aggressively early," he said. Furthermore, he said, "much more needs to be done in order to protect against this intrusion. Not just by the Russians, but others as well."

Yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has continued to block bills that would take steps to bolster protections at the polls. On Thursday, he once against stopped two election related bills in the Senate. He's accused Democrats of pursuing election security measures for "political benefit."

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