Senate Leaders Clash Over Election Security

Senate leaders clashed on the chamber floor about how Congress could prevent foreign interference in the 2020 elections, as the Trump administration was scheduled Wednesday to give lawmakers a long-awaited briefing about its efforts to prevent a repeat of Russian meddling in 2016.

House and Senate lawmakers will be briefed by a group of top administration officials including FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. They will appear after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed for months for the meetings, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell only recently getting on board.

Still, the two top Senate leaders continue to spar over whether any further legislation addressing election security will be needed this year. McConnell made no promises.

Instead, the Republican took to the Senate floor to blame former President Barack Obama for being too soft on Russia, which he said paved the way for the 2016 election meddling. He insisted that under the Trump administration there has been “greater success” including the indictment of 28 Russian nationals and entities by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and passage of $380 million in funding to help states combat potential hacking.

Schumer insisted Republicans “fought tooth and nail” against that funding and that top GOP leaders continue to show little interest in measures that would help protect state voting systems and combat foreign influence through social media.

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