Murphy: Russia will become more of a threat to US election while Trump is in quarantine

Murphy: Russia will become more of a threat to US election while Trump is in quarantine
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed New Jersey to halt indoor sports, cap outside gatherings MORE (D-Conn.) said Friday that while President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE cannot be on the campaign trail due to his recent coronavirus diagnosis, that Russia will become an increasing threat to the Nov. 3 election. 

The commentary from Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, comes just hours after Trump announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Biden unveils batch of his White House team Melania Trump unveils White House Christmas decorations USAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 MORE have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Their diagnosis came shortly after news broke that top White House aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration President says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 MORE had also tested positive for the disease. 

During an interview Friday with CNN's Jim Sciutto, Murphy warned that Russia may look to take advantage of Trump's diagnosis. 


"You have to be much more serious about the Russian threat given today’s news," Murphy told Sciutto. "If President Trump can’t be out there on the campaign trail for the next two weeks, then he is going to rely on his surrogates and, unfortunately, one of his surrogates is Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinScarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Russian vessel threatens to ram US warship in disputed waters in Sea of Japan MORE."

"So you are likely going to see this campaign ramped up by Russia over the next few weeks to try to substitute for the president’s absence on the campaign trail," Murphy continued without providing specific evidence. "And my worry is that the intel agencies are not being clear with the American people about the size of the Russian operation and their clear desire to try to elect President Trump to a second term."

Concerns regarding foreign election interference have increased in the past few months following an assessment from William Evanina, director of National Counterintelligence and Security Center. Evanina said that Russia, China and Iran are engaging in interference efforts surrounding the elections. 


His assessment also detailed that Russia was seeking to influence the election in favor of Trump, while China and Iran preferred the Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panel Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE

Other lawmakers have raised concerns regarding foreign election interference, and recently Reps. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerDivided citizenry and government — a call to action for common ground House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally Bickering Democrats return with divisions MORE (D-Va.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoKatko fends off Democratic opponent in New York race Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day Republicans who could serve in a Biden government MORE (R-N.Y.) proposed legislation intended to cut down on foreign disinformation on social media. 

Reporting from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE found that in 2016, Russia engaged in a sweeping disinformation campaign on social media in order to influence the U.S. election between then-candidate Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Katko fends off Democratic opponent in New York race Harris County GOP chairman who made racist Facebook post resigns MORE.  

The president and first lady are only experiencing mild symptoms, according to the White House. 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden was tested Friday morning, according to the campaign, and he has tested negative for the coronavirus.

updated 2:15 p.m.