Thursday, July 25, 2019

Russian To Judgment, Con't

One piece of new information that Robert Mueller did provide yesterday was the fact that the Russians are still, right now, attacking US election security in order to sow chaos and damage the country. 

The biggest takeaway from Robert Mueller's appearances on Capitol Hill is not that Donald Trump may have obstructed justice, although that's what most people continue to argue about. 
It's that Russians are still interfering in US elections. 
"They're doing it as we sit here," Mueller told lawmakers of Russian interference. Earlier he'd said how that aspect of his investigation has been underplayed will have a long-term effect on the US. 
In his report, the former special counsel disclosed that Russian hackers compromised local election systems of two Florida counties in 2016, a development later confirmed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, although he said no votes were changed. And while Mueller did not bring conspiracy charges, it's been well documented that Russians in 2016 were doing their best to help Trump, not Clinton, win. 
Yet despite Mueller's testimony, the special counsel report and alarming statements from elsewhere in Washington, public urgency on addressing Russian interference for the 2020 election appears lacking.

After Mueller's testimony, Senate Democrats tried to get House measures passed that would strengthen cybersecurity measures protecting US elections.

Republicans blocked them all.  Again.

Democrats cited Mueller as they tried to get consent on Wednesday evening to pass their bills.

"Mr. Mueller's testimony should serve as a warning to every member of this body about what could happen in 2020, literally in our next elections," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He added that "unfortunately, in the nearly three years since we uncovered Russia's attack on our democracy, this body has not held a single vote on stand-alone legislation to protect our elections."

Warner tried to get consent to pass the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act by unanimous consent. Under Warner's bill, campaign officials would have to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would in turn notify the FBI.

"If a foreign adversary tries to offer assistance to your campaign, your response should not be 'thank you.' Your response should be a moral obligation to tell the FBI," he said.

But Hyde-Smith objected to passing his legislation. Sen. Marsha Blackburn(R-Tenn.) similarly blocked the legislation in June, arguing that it was overly broad.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried to get consent to pass similar legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers.

"It differs in some technical aspects [from the Warner bill] … but it is the same idea because it codifies into law what is already a moral duty, a patriotic duty and basic common sense," Blumenthal said.

Hyde-Smith also objected to Blumenthal's bill.

She objected a third time when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to get consent to pass legislation he crafted with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would allow the Senate Sergeant at Arms to provide voluntary cybersecurity assistance for personal accounts and devices of senators and staff.

"I don't see how anyone can consider what I have proposed to be a partisan issue," Wyden said.

Democrats still haven't figured out that Republicans want elections to be vulnerable so Trump can win.  There's no other explanation.

They know he will lose without Russia rigging the election.

Do we understand the stakes now?

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