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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia Durbin opposes Saudi arms sale over missing journalist Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? MORE (Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Pollsters: White college-educated women to decide if Dems capture House Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharIs there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Clusters of polio-like illness in the US not a cause for panic MORE (Minn.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Senators concerned as Trump official disputes UN climate change warning MORE (Md.). 
 
Bolton sent Democrats a letter on Thursday touting President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE's "vast, government-wide effort" to protect the election system, adding that the president "will not tolerate interference." 
 
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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 RubioSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' Dems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism 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 WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel 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."