Mueller's Testimony and the New Normal

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Mueller's Testimony and the New Normal

Its Intelligence Committee released a report concluding that Russian Federation targeted election systems in all 50 states.

The report, which was heavily redacted, states that interference began as early as 2014 and went on until 2017, although it adds that there is no proof that votes were changed or voting machines were manipulated.

The election security report is the first chapter of several volumes that the committee is expected to release in its investigation of Russian election interference.

"Obviously it's very important that we maintain the integrity and security of our elections", McConnell said Thursday. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure, The Hill is reporting. But Democrats say Congress must do more.

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of NY, called inaction by Congress a "disgrace" and pledged to keep pushing for votes.

Mueller testified before two House subcommittees Wednesday warning about the dangers of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "State election officials, who have primacy in running elections, were not sufficiently warned or prepared to handle an attack from a hostile nation-state actor". The question remains: Why?

"Leader McConnell let me read you that sentence", Schumer said from the Senate floor, citing Mueller's testimony Wednesday about Russian interference.

Mueller also said he hoped his Russian Federation probe report would send a message to "those who come after us".

Speaking to Congress earlier this week, former special counsel Robert Mueller said Russian Federation would again interfere with the American elections upcoming in 2020: "They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign". It also would prohibit voting systems from being connected to the internet or wireless technologies and tighten standards for private companies that provide election infrastructure.

"Now we have, nearly four years later, the same warnings coming, coming not only from the independent counsel...we now have the intel committee in the Senate, run by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr saying what?"

Only yesterday, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned a House committee that Russian Federation was moving to interfere in the 2020 elections "as we sit here". The targets varied widely, from county websites to voter databases.

The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, established a new elections threats executive position last week. Ron Wyden of OR said, "I can not support a report whose top recommendation is to 'reinforce state's primacy in running elections'".

Even if Congress were immediately to send funds to states to replace voting equipment, it would be extremely hard to make substantial upgrades in time for the 2020 elections. For example, the committee wrote that voter registration databases were not as secure as they could have been, while voting machines were vulnerable to exploitation by hackers.

States alone are "ill equipped to defend themselves against the sophisticated, well-resourced intelligence agencies of foreign governments", according to a recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan public policy institute.

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