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Democrats push election security legislation after Mueller warning

Senate Democrats are doubling down on their push for Congress to pass additional election security legislation, after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE warned about the threat of election meddling on Wednesday.
 
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Democrats offer fresh support for embattled Tanden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump teases on 2024 run Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (D-Va.) said Mueller made it clear during his remarks at the Justice Department that Congress should take steps to prevent future election interference.
 
"We must take steps to protect our democracy by passing legislation that enhances election security, increases social media transparency, and requires campaign officials to report any contact with foreign nationals attempting to coordinate with a campaign," Warner said in a statement.
 
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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Mueller's comments an "urgent plea for action." Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsKhashoggi fiancée: Not punishing Saudi crown prince would be 'stain on our humanity' GOP says Ron Klain pulling Biden strings Pompeo: Release of Khashoggi report by Biden admin 'reckless' MORE (D-Del.) added that Mueller "reiterated clearly and unequivocally that Russia attacked our democracy by interfering with our 2016 election."
 
"As we approach the 2020 elections, we must invest more in election security and protect our democracy. This must not be a partisan issue; protecting our democratic process is far more important than politics," Coons said.
 
Mueller spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time since handing over his report on the nearly two-year investigation into Russia's election interference and President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE's 2016 campaign.
 
Mueller indicated during the press conference, where he did not take questions, that he did not want to testify before Congress about the more than 400-page report, saying his potential testimony would not go beyond what was in his sprawling report.
 
But he used his closing remarks to warn about election interference from foreign governments, calling it the "central allegation of our indictments." 
 
"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. 
 
But election interference legislation has hit a roadblock on Capitol Hill, where Mueller's findings have failed to break the months-long stalemate over election security legislation.
 
House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday argued that the Senate should take up H.R. 1, a wide-ranging election and ethics reform bill, and pledged that Congress will "legislate to protect our elections and secure our democracy."
 
 
Republican senators have also argued that the House legislation poisoned the well for larger negotiations on an election security package ahead of the 2020 election, and indicated the chamber is unlikely to pass its own bill.
 
Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPadilla has 'big Chuck Taylors to fill' in replacing Harris Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy MORE (R-Mo.) said during a committee hearing earlier this month that “at this point I don’t see any likelihood that those bills would get to the floor if we mark them up."
 
Still, Democrats are seeking to put pressure on McConnell for the Senate to take up legislation, reiterating their calls following Mueller's remarks on Wednesday.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerA Biden stumble on China? First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.) said Mueller "made clear" that Russia tried to interfere in "the wellspring of our democracy," adding that if lawmakers did nothing the interference could be worse in 2020. 
 
“If President Trump and Congress don’t do anything, it will be worse in 2020 and yet, inexplicably, Senator McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate are blocking bipartisan election security legislation, despite Democrats’ repeated calls to protect our democracy from interference—by Russia or any other foreign adversary," Schumer said in a statement. 
 
Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenator notices mismatching shoes at trial: 'I had a lot on my mind' Overnight Energy: Biden administration delays Trump rollback of migratory bird protections | Democrats seek to block further Arctic drilling | Democratic senator pushes for clean electricity standard Democratic senator pushes for clean electricity standard MORE (D-Minn.) added in a tweet: "Congress has a job to do here. Hello Mitch McConnell? Are you there?"