Democrats are pushing hard for a legislative response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election before 2020. But it seems that most Republicans in Congress are still not on board, according to CNN.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, often known as a supposed “swing vote” in the Senate, said today that she doesn’t believe increased election security is necessary, nor does she support Democrats’ push to mandate that campaigns disclose to federal authorities if they are offered help from foreign entities.
“I’m not sure why we need to have [an election security bill],” Murkowski told CNN. “I know there are some who believe we have to do more election reform. I think some of it is calculated to add, I think, additional fuel to the Mueller report and the aftermath of that.”
Murkowski added that she believed campaigns would voluntarily inform authorities if they were offered foreign help, and a law mandating that would merely be “political fodder.”
“It seems to me that good sense would say you should report that, and we ought not need to legislate it,” Murkowski told CNN. “The effort to sort of capture the news of the moment and the tweet of the day and legislate in a response that is designed, again, just for more political fodder. “
We agree—it does make sense that you’d do that. But our president, unfortunately, does not make sense.
In fact, Trump said just last week that he would NOT disclose it to the FBI if he was offered dirt on an opponent by a foreign government in an upcoming election.
“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI—if I thought there was something wrong,” Trump told ABC. “But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
The president partially walked back the comment later, but he seemed pretty certain about his beliefs in the original interview. It’s hard to imagine him really having a change of heart after criticism.
Murkowski says that Congress should be focusing on legislation about topics other than Trump’s antics.
“People are talking a lot around here about whether or not we are legislating. I want to legislate on things that are important to what’s going on out there in the country,” Murkowski added.
“It certainly seems to me since 2016 the administration has stepped up,” she told CNN. “I think we had some good elections in 2018 and I’d like to think that is going to be repeated. So, I think all of us need to be vigilant. If there were election reforms measures, I would look at them carefully.”
Unsurprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly brushed off the need for more election security. As Murkowski is one of the most moderate Republicans, her rejection of these bills is a good sign that these bills have no chance of passing the Republican-controlled chamber.
Murkowski is right about one thing: these measures are inspired in part by the report by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. One of the current bills in the House, the Anti-Collusion Act, would require campaigns to report any help offered by a foreign or domestic group that involves illegal activity.
“It’s so self-evident as a matter of ethics,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week. “But we’ll have to codify it, mandating a duty to report for campaigns reporting foreign interventions in our elections.”