McConnell: Tech companies could help US 'retaliate against the Russians'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS MORE (R-Ky.) said he believes the tech companies that displayed Kremlin-linked ads during the 2016 election could help the United States “retaliate” against Russia.

“What we ought to do with regard to the Russians is retaliate, seriously retaliate against the Russians,” McConnell told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt on Saturday. “These tech firms could be helpful in giving us a way to do that.”

McConnell did not elaborate on what that retaliation might look like.

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Top officials from Twitter, Facebook and Google testified last week before three different congressional committees investigating Russians' use of their platforms to influence Americans during the 2016 presidential race.

McConnell expressed disappointment that the companies’ CEOs did not appear before Congress, instead sending other officials to testify and answer questions.

Some members of Congress have voiced a desire to hold social media companies more accountable for ads appearing on their platforms. One proposed bill would require disclosures on who is funding ads on the sites, much like those required of television advertisements.

“I’m a little skeptical of these disclosure-type proposals that are floating around, which strikes me would mostly penalize American citizens at trying to use the internet and to advertise,” McConnell told Hewitt.

McConnell said he doesn’t believe a special commission is required to look at the broader issue of technology and national security, but recognized that it’s a complex issue.

“It certainly would help if the CEOs were willing to testify, but I think it’s a big subject with a lot of national security implications and a lot of First Amendment concerns as well,” McConnell said. “This is a tough area trying to figure out how to balance national security versus the First Amendment."