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 SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Pressley on Kavanaugh impeachment: 'Deeply disturbing' that a justice 'could have this many allegations' MORE (Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions This week: Congress returns for first time since mass shootings MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharMark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Democrats press for action on election security Antitrust enforcers in turf war over Big Tech MORE (Minn.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank MORE (Md.). 
 
Bolton sent Democrats a letter on Thursday touting President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border 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 RubioRepublicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation 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 WarnerCalifornia Law to rebuild middle class shows need for congressional action Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Top Democrat demands answers from CBP on security of biometric data 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."