Less than 24 hours after Mueller warns that foreign election interference is imminent, McConnell blocks $775 million in election security funding

Yesterday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, warned the American people that, if they aren’t stopped, members of the Russian intelligence service, working on behalf of Vladimir Putin, will surely attempt to influence the outcome of our next election, just as they did in 2016. Warning that, “(they’re still) doing it as we sit here,” the former FBI Director urged members of Congress to take action, and ensure that we address the threat of foreign interference in a comprehensive way. Well, today, we learned even more about what the Russians may have in mind. According to a new bipartisan report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee titled, Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 Election, we have evidence that hackers working on behalf of the Russians have probed the election systems of 21 states. While, according to the report, there’s no evidence that vote tallies were changed, we know that it was attempted, and we know, according to our intelligence agencies, that it will be attempted again.

So, with this said, I find it amazing that, today, we’re seeing headlines like this.

That’s right. Today, less than 24 hours after Mueller reiterated his warning about the Russian military’s concerted attacks against our political system, and almost concurrently with the release of the new Senate Intelligence Committee detailing how, in addition to launching a sophisticated disinformation campaign, and hacking into Democratic servers in 2016, the Russians also breached the election systems of 21 states, the Republicans stopped a bill that would authorize $775 million in security funding for state election systems… The following comes from CNN.

Republicans in the Senate have twice in 24 hours blocked the advancement of bills aimed at strengthening election security just hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned of the continued threat that foreign powers interfering in US elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came to the Senate floor Thursday to personally object to House-passed legislation backed by Democrats. This comes after Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi objected to a trio of bills on Wednesday, in keeping with long standing GOP arguments that Congress has already responded to election security needs for the upcoming election.

Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon had advocated for the bills on the Senate floor, asking for unanimous consent to pass the package, but that ask can be halted with an objection from any senator…

And, here, lest anyone think that the SAFE (Securing America’s Federal Elections) Act is some kind of extreme bill, is an overview of the proposed legislation.

This bill addresses election security through grant programs and requirements for voting systems and paper ballots.

The bill establishes requirements for voting systems, including that systems (1) use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots; (2) make a voter’s marked ballot available for inspection and verification by the voter before the vote is cast; (3) ensure that individuals with disabilities are given an equivalent opportunity to vote, including with privacy and independence, in a manner that produces a voter-verified paper ballot; and (4) be manufactured in the United States.

The National Science Foundation must award grants to study, test, and develop accessible voter-verified paper ballot voting and best practices to enhance the accessibility of such voting for individuals with disabilities, for voters whose primary language is not English, and for voters with difficulties in literacy.

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) must award grants to states to (1) replace certain voting systems, carry out voting system security improvements, and implement and model best practices for ballot design, ballot instructions, and the testing of ballots; and (2) conduct risk-limiting audits.

States may use elections requirements payments to carry out activities related to election security.

The EAC must provide for the testing of voting system hardware and software and decertify such technology that does not meet guidelines.

Now, I ask you, why would Mitch McConnell scuttle a bill that seeks to make it more difficult for foreign governments to interfere with our elections? Why, when we know the threat is real, is he unwilling to advance this legislation to the floor of the United States Senate, so that it can be voted on? What is he afraid of?

Please call your Senators today and demand that they vote on the SAFE Act!

update: Even former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough can see what’s happening. Mitch’s refusal to bring this to a vote, he says, is “un-American.”

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25 Comments

  1. Chris Hayes by proxy
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data”

    https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1154520989318860800?s=21

  2. Marcy Wheeler by proxy
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    At what point is it fair to insinuate that Mitch McConnell’s disinterest in protecting voting security has to do w/Oleg Deripaska-related investments in KY or his wife’s already unethical business ties to China?

    https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1154501027967754249?s=21

  3. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Did Mueller break ground in the Russian interference claim? I thought he merely reiterated what Crowdstrike said. Yeah, I’m believing them. I thought he backed away from saying it was the military anyway. He made a distinction between Russia and the company in question.

  4. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Thanks HW. It is comical for Mark to try to use Mueller as a reliable authority especially after what happened yesterday. Do we need to secure elections more? Maybe. Retired Dudley Do-Right’s opinions ought to carry almost no weight at this point.

  5. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Mueller claimed to not be familiar with GPS Fusion. That’s interesting since they hired Steele. Steele was outside his purview. Mkay.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Oleg Deripaska, I just saw this.

    “Sanctioned Russian oligarch’s company to invest millions in new aluminum plant in Mitch McConnell’s state…the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, to invest $200 million to build aluminum plant in Kentucky.”

  7. breaking news
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    They may have breached 21 states, but they tried all 50.

    Breaking News: Election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, a Senate report said, showing a more far-reaching effort than previously known
    (link: https://nyti.ms/2Y6RINA) nyti.ms/2Y6RINA

  8. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Rated false by politifact:

    https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2019/feb/14/facebook-posts/fact-checking-claim-mitch-mcconnells-biggest-donor/

  9. Lynne
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    It is frustrating to me that the GOP is so cool with letting a foreign nation interfere with our elections but then the GOP is all about cheating to win elections. Anything to keep white dudes in power.

  10. Moscow Mitch
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    #MoscowMitch is trending on social media.

  11. Bob
    Posted July 26, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    It makes no difference how you feel about Trump or any of the other stuff. If you oppose legislation designed to secure our elections, you are just plain unamerican. And a fucking dick. I hope it’s the last straw for voters in McConnell’s state. He deserves to go. A bullet in the back of the head too, probably. Nobody would lose a sleep over that.

  12. iRobert
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    If it makes you feel any better, elections in the US have been largely manipulated for decades. Few people showed much concern outside of Bev Harris and the other folks at Black Box Voting.

  13. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Wow, Bob. You are one tough dude. A bullet to the back of the head! You are going to dispense with any process and just start shootin’. Good thing you are really just an internet pussy. It’s still ill though. You are so mentally weak you have to compensate with rage.

  14. Bob
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    No rage, pally. I didn’t say I would shoot him anyway, dipshit. I said nobody would lose any sleep if someone did. Or you.

  15. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Give Bob a cookie for not having rage, I guess. As if Bob’s emotional investment was the thing being criticized.

    A man needs to do what a man needs to do.

    What sort of man believes a certain thing ought to be done and in the next breath announces “I’m not going to do what ought to be done, dipshit”?

    I think HW has your number.

  16. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    It’s just like how you claimed you were going to beat my ass, bitch. You’re not going to do shit. Not only is it rage, it is rage you can never release in real life. It has to be fucking you up to be that hateful and weak.

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Who would take it for granted today that the dems are on the up and up on election security? The ones are are still sobbing because Hillary didn’t get her ‘turn’. Waah it’s not fair we lost so we’re gonna secure it for next time! The ones who produced the Russia hoax while buying phony intel to swing the election from…RUSSIA!!! It’s insane.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Just when you think the comments here couldn’t get any worse…. they get even worse.

  19. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s going to get a lot worse for you. Not for me or Flakes or EOS.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KTXgXBGzTY

  20. Anonymous
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Why me? What did I do?

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I just lump you in with all the other anonymi.

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 28, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Listened to 80% of Mueller testimony today. Wow. Hopefully we can all agree that was interesting!

  23. The Hill
    Posted July 29, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    WATCH: McConnell blasts “modern-day McCarthyism” while defending blocking election bills — hill.cm/LnoXxgo

  24. Posted July 30, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

  25. iRobert
    Posted July 30, 2019 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Makes one wonder if Putin has something big on McConnell also.

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