Senate Democrats dissatisfied with White House's election security efforts
© Anna Moneymaker

Senate Democrats urged the administration to take election security "more seriously" on Thursday, the same day the White House had five of its top security officials discuss their efforts ahead of November's midterms.

The Democratic senators said in a joint statement that national security advisor John Bolton sent them a letter that fails to address their concerns about Russian meddling. 

"We implore the administration to take this very real and imminent threat to our elections and our democracy more seriously," said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTo save the Postal Service, bring it online White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Schumer declines to say whether Trump executive orders are legal: They don't 'do the job' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate MORE (Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (Minn.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenExclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (Md.). 
 
 
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But Democrats argue the letter doesn't respond to a slate of issues they raised in their initial July 27 letter to Bolton, including fully implementing Russia sanctions legislation and securing the extradition of the Russian nationals accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. 

 
"Bolton’s response does not address any of this and failed to urge Republicans in the Senate to reconsider their position blocking critical funding requested by 21 states to bolster election security ahead of the midterms," the Democratic senators wrote. 
 
Bolton's letter comes as the administration's five top national security officials, including Bolton, made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room as part of an effort to show the administration is confronting Russian efforts to interfere in the midterm elections.
 
The press conference comes amid growing alarm in Washington about Russia's attempts to meddle in the November congressional races. But the rhetoric appeared to do little to assuage Democrats. 
 
Van Hollen, in a separate statement, said Trump's team was confirming "what we've long known" and urged them to support his legislation with Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (R-Fla.) that would slap new penalties on Moscow if the director of national intelligence determines they meddled in future elections. 
 
Meanwhile, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election US intelligence says Russia seeking to 'denigrate' Biden GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe MORE (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said in a tweet that he was "glad to see the White House finally do something about election security — even if it’s only a press conference. Now if only it was actually backed up by anything the President has said or done on Russia."