Schumer vows votes on background checks, voting rights after break
Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked a resolution from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that backed the intelligence community's assessment of Russian election interference and demanded President Trump speak with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Sanders asked for unanimous consent to try to pass his resolution, saying senators "must act" if they are "serious about preserving American democracy."
"The Congress must make it clear that we accept the assessment of our intelligence community with regard to Russian election interfering in our country and in other democracies," Sanders said during a Senate floor speech.
Under Senate rules, any one senator could block his request.
Sanders's resolution would also demand already passed sanctions legislation be fully implemented, move to protect the election system and "not accept" interference in Mueller's investigation, including the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
But Paul objected to the resolution, saying it was a sign of "Trump derangement syndrome" coming to the Senate. Paul has been one of Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress in the wake of the president's sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.
"The hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance," he said.
Paul questioned why senators would not want to have relations with Russia.
"We should stand firm and say 'Stay the hell out of our elections,' but we should not stick our head in the ground and say we're not going to talk to them," he said.
But Sanders fired back that Paul's objection was unrelated to his resolution, which he noted doesn't push for cutting off talks with the Russians.
"What the senator said is totally irrelevant to what is in this resolution," Sanders said.
The resolution comes as Congress is weighing how to push back against Russia after Trump sparked bipartisan backlash during his meeting with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
Trump refused to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election during a joint press conference on Monday. He then tried to walk back his comments on Tuesday, saying he accepted the intelligence community's findings but added that "other people" could have been involved too.