Senate passes bill to deny entry for individuals who meddle in US elections
© Keren Carrion
The Senate cleared legislation on Monday night to block individuals who meddle in U.S. elections from being able to enter the United States.
 
The legislation, known as the Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes Act (DETER Act), easily passed the Senate by unanimous consent — a move that any one senator could have blocked.
 
The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE (D-Ill.), would block individuals from being able to obtain a visa if they were attempting to or had engaged in "improper interference in U.S. elections." 
 
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According to the legislation, that would include violating voting or campaign finance laws or trying to interfere in elections or a campaign while under the direction of a foreign government. 
 
"As we saw in the 2016 elections, Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinProgressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting Russian lawmakers back Putin on withdrawal from nuclear arms treaty MORE’s Russia is attempting to strike at the very heart of the democratic values, freedoms, and liberty all Americans hold dear. By barring foreigners who improperly interfere in our elections from coming to the United States, the DETER Act sends a message to hostile nations across the world that the United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections," Graham said in a statement after the committee's vote.
 
The bill's Senate passage comes as election security is showing new, early signs of life in the chamber, even as top Republicans have expressed little public interest in moving broader election infrastructure legislation.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills Ex-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis MORE (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor earlier Monday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) had agreed to an all-members briefing on election security as lawmakers warn of the need to bolster election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election.
 
"I have some positive news. I have spoken to the Republican leader about that request. He has assured me we will have a briefing," Schumer said.
 
Senators have mounted a bipartisan push in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's report to try to move election security through the Senate, arguing that it's needed in the wake of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. 
 
 
"Unfortunately, Congress has done little to prevent future efforts by Russia or others to influence and disrupt the 2020 elections,” Durbin said.
 
Mueller warned about election interference during a press conference last week, which marked his first public comments since he wrapped up his two-year investigation earlier this year. 
 
"I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American," Mueller told reporters.