Senate resolution backs intelligence community on Russian meddling
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) are introducing a resolution supporting the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election days after President Trump voiced skepticism about Moscow’s election interference.
Flake and Coons said on Wednesday that they will try to pass their resolution on Thursday. Under Senate rules, any one senator will be able to block them.
The resolution doesn’t directly mention Trump but comes after the president on Monday refused to denounce Russia’s election meddling and appeared to echo Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of Moscow’s work to influence the election.
“This body must reaffirm that we stand with the men and women of the Department of Justice. … I hope the president will take the word of our intelligence agencies rather than the empty words of a dictator,” Flake said in a statement.
Coons added that in light of Trump’s comments this week “it’s important for the Senate to speak in a clear, bipartisan voice to say that we stand with and believe our Department of Justice and our Intelligence Community and that we will not tolerate future attacks from Russia or anyone else on our democracy.”
The resolution would commend the Justice Department for investigating Russia’s election interference.
In addition to Russian election interference, special counsel Robert Mueller is also probing potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump has dismissed the probe as a “witch hunt.”
The resolution agrees with the intelligence community’s findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and that Russia should be held accountable.
It also calls on the administration to fully implement the sanctions against Russia that Congress passed last year and urges congressional oversight “including prompt hearings and the release of relevant note and information” so Congress can understand the Helsinki summit.
Trump sparked a political firestorm on Monday when he refused to denounce Russia’s election meddling during a joint press conference with Putin following a one-on-one meeting in Helsinki.
He tried to walk that back on Tuesday saying he accepts the intelligence community’s finding but added that “other people” could have also meddled.
When asked by reporters Wednesday if Russia still poses a threat to the U.S., Trump said no. But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was “saying ‘no’ to answering questions” and not to the reporter’s question itself.”
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