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) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE warned about the threat of election meddling on Wednesday.
 
 
"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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Mueller's comments an "urgent plea for action." Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Biden faces scrutiny for his age from other Democrats Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation 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 John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies 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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' 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 BluntEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity GOP group targets McConnell over election security bills in new ad Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerColorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down Trump ahead of New Hampshire speech: Lewandowski would be 'fantastic' senator Hickenlooper ends presidential bid 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 SmithReid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Senate Democrats introduce bill to combat foreign influence campaigns Durbin says he has second thoughts about asking for Franken's resignation MORE (D-Minn.) added in a tweet: "Congress has a job to do here. Hello Mitch McConnell? Are you there?"