The Republican-led Senate Intel Committee just dropped a summary of its investigatory findings and they entirely back up Robert Mueller’s historic testimony about sweeping Russian election interference yesterday.
Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) served on the Trump transition team and heads the intelligence committee, but he broke from the president and calls Russia an “urgent threat” to the ballot machinery underpinning America’s elections. Even so, Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell just chose to kill two Democratic bills to require universal paper ballots and fund the Election Assistance Committee.
The findings state that all fifty states’ voting systems were probed by the Russians, and Bloomberg reports that they’re awaiting declassification of the full report now, which is why they summarized their findings:
“The Senate Intelligence Committee recounted ‘extensive’ efforts by Russia to compromise the U.S.’s election infrastructure from 2014 to ‘at least 2017’ and urged new efforts to deter the threat as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
In summarizing the first part of its final report on Russian efforts to undermine American democracy, committee Chairman Richard Burr said Thursday that ‘in 2016 the U.S. was unprepared at all levels of government for a concerted attack from a determined foreign adversary on our election infrastructure.'”
The Senate Intel report is the only fully bipartisan investigation of Putin’s help to Trump, and they made recommendations to smartly modernize the way America votes, with verifiable paper backup.
In April, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) filed a bill to require mandatory reporting to the FBI of any offers of foreign assistance to a federal campaign, along with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) who sits on the House Intel and Judiciary Committees. At the time, the Senator said:
” A duty to report foreign sabotage of our democracy is a matter of simple patriotism and common sense — but now needs to be an explicit legal duty too.
If a foreign adversary offers a candidate for U.S. office illegal assistance, the first call should be to federal law enforcers not to criminal co-conspirators.”
Blumenthal’s words then echo former Special Counsel Mueller’s words in yesterday’s hearing, agreeing that it is unpatriotic to accept foreign election assistance, in addition to being unethical and a crime.
Then in May, Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden introduced the bill to require all paper ballots.
Even the election systems giant ES&S lobbied in favor of passage, for the sake of security, and President Trump gave a public thumbs up to “old fashioned paper.”
But Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard added two more tombstones anyway this week, representing two more dead attempts at restoring the promise of a “one man, one vote” democracy, which our Constitution is supposed to guarantee.
After Watergate, Congress re-asserted control over our nation’s government from a tyrannical “unitary executive” and implemented serious reforms that put a lid on political cheating for a generation.
For decades, Republican-controlled House, Senate, and Supreme Court bodies have whacked away at every constraint big money in political spending, which resulted in Donald Trump winning the White House with Putin’s help.
America won’t be able to fix our democracy as long as McConnell and Trump are in office, but it will be difficult to overcome their election cheating to eject them from office so long as they remain in power.
But as long as one or both of the two despotic GOP politicians are removed from office by January 2021, there’s still a chance to pass meaningful reforms to lock Russia out of our elections, even if that means the Republican party never wins another election ever again without Putin’s help.
Follow Grant Stern on Twitter @grantstern and check out his first book, Meet the Candidates 2020: Elizabeth Warren and Meet the Candidates 2020: Kamala Harris are both on sale today as part of his Meet the Candidates 2020 Series of voters guides.