McConnell Calls Accusations That He’s a Russian Asset ‘Modern-Day McCarthyism’

Wednesday, 31 Jul, 2019

Republican leadership in the Senate continued to block a vote on an election security bill that would help states move to systems like Maine's, where every electronically recorded vote has a paper backup that can be consulted in a recount. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Mueller also warned that Russian Federation remains interested in interfering in USA elections, telling lawmakers: "They are doing it as we sit here". Its original form was the smearing of public officials as Russian assets for their political views, part of a "Red scare" that had some basis in fact but quickly ran out of control and was exploited for sheer political gain.

"Last month the Democratic-controlled House approved the Securing America's Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, which requires that states use "individual, durable, voter-verified" paper ballots" during federal elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, blocked election security bills on Thursday.

"He is aiding & abetting Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert US democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI…All Republicans are saying Russian Federation is trying to subvert USA democracy & Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it". Republican senators need to join with Democrats in voting to shore up vulnerable election systems. The committee found no evidence that they did so.

But time may be running out to address concerns in the states before the next election.

The 67-page bipartisan report concluded that the Russian government "directed extensive activity against USA election infrastructure" from 2014 through 2017, and that the Russian efforts "exploited the seams" between the federal authorities and states.

"While details of numerous hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in IL and Arizona, are well known, the committee described "an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure" intended largely to search for vulnerabilities in the security of the election systems".

Schumer, who took to the Senate floor minutes after McConnell, said the Majority Leader could easily prove his critics wrong by putting the election security measures up for a vote. "Much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions-not just by the Russians, but others as well".

Insisting the GOP-held Senate unanimously pass Dem legislation is manifestly absurd.

Lawmakers previously had set aside $2 million in a voting technology fund, as a down payment on a machine replacement expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Over the last two years, Homeland Security, the department tasked with securing elections, has been working to build up trust with wary state and local officials through increased communication, training and offers of cybersecurity support.

Arizona is a state where hackers targeted the voter registration system in 2016.

"I was accused of aiding and abetting the very man I've singled out as an adversary and opposed for almost 20 years, Vladimir Putin", McConnell said in a fiery, for him, floor speech Monday. "That being said, we can always use more resources, so it is problematic that the Senate Republicans are blocking that".