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 SchumerTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (Ill.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping GOP senator wants Violence Against Women Act passage by year end MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (Minn.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (Md.). 
 
Bolton sent Democrats a letter on Thursday touting President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 RubioSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters 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 WarnerBipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator Hillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Klobuchar unveils plan to secure elections as president 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."