Mueller Says Russian Interference Persists. Inside The Plans To Stop It

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a press conference on passing the America's Elections Act on June 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks alongside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a press conference on passing the America's Elections Act on June 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

You can find a buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Robert Mueller warned that Russians are still interfering in our elections. We look at what lawmakers are trying to do to stop that — and who’s standing in their way.


Karoun Demirjian, congressional reporter for the Washington Post focusing on national security. (@karoun)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democratic congresswoman for California's 19th Congressional District. Chairperson of the Committee on House Administration, which has jurisdiction over elections. Author of the SAFE Act, which passed, almost entirely along party lines, in June. (@RepZoeLofgren)

Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican congressman for Illinois' 13th Congressional District. Ranking member of the Committee on House Administration. He voted against Rep. Lofgren's SAFE Act. (@RodneyDavis)

Marian Schneider, former Pennsylvania deputy secretary for elections and administration, and now president of Verified Voting, a national election integrity advocacy group. (@marianschneider)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: "Russians probably targeted election systems in all 50 states, Senate panel’s report says" — "The Senate Intelligence Committee, in a new report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, said Thursday that systems in all 50 states were probably targeted in some manner, that the federal government fell short in warning about the threat and that vulnerability persists heading into the 2020 campaign.

"The panel’s investigation found that Russia’s 2016 interference began as early as 2014 and continued into at least 2017, and it echoed findings from other federal officials who have said there is no evidence that any votes were changed or that any voting machines were compromised.

"Notably, though, the heavily redacted report says U.S. officials believed that Russians probably 'scanned' systems in every state — including activity such as basic research on 'election-related web pages, voter ID information, election system software, and election service companies.' The Department of Homeland Security disclosed two years ago that Russian government hackers had targeted 21 states during the 2016 election cycle."

New York Times: "Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds" — "The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time.

"But while the bipartisan report’s warning that the United States remains vulnerable in the next election is clear, its findings were so heavily redacted at the insistence of American intelligence agencies that even some key recommendations for 2020 were blacked out.

"The report — the first volume of several to be released from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference — came 24 hours after the former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III warned that Russia was moving again to interfere 'as we sit here.'

"While details of many of the hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in Illinois 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."

Roll Call: "Election infrastructure bill remains stalled as Senate Intelligence panel releases first volume of Russia report" — "As the Senate Intelligence Committee was releasing the first volume of its comprehensive report into Russian election interference in 2016, a Republican senator was making clear that he still wants to get support for encouraging states to have paper audit trails and to boost the ability of election officials to get timely security clearances.

"Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who has been working with Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told reporters Thursday that with the 2020 primaries and caucuses just around the corner, security enhancements would be meant for the next midterms.

"'The discussion now is not about 2020. That’s already resolved,' Lankford said. 'They’re not going to add new stuff unless its already currently in the pipeline. It’s really 2022 at this point.' "

The Hill: "Democrats paint McConnell as 'lead opponent' to election security in new report" — "Senate Democrats labeled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as 'the lead opponent' to election security efforts in a report released Tuesday.

"The attack came as Democrats continue to push McConnell to bring election security legislation to the Senate floor.

"The report, specifically released ahead of the House hearings featuring special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday, details what the Democrats see as steps taken by McConnell since 1999 to resist election security and voting reform efforts.

"'For years, Sen. McConnell has fought to increase the impact of dark money and corporate spending in our elections,' the Senate Democrats wrote. 'But now, after reportedly fighting efforts to expose Putin’s interference during the 2016 elections, Senator McConnell is blocking bipartisan reforms that would secure our elections from foreign interference.'

"The Senate Democrats pointed to efforts by McConnell and other Senate Republicans to block election security efforts in the Senate, accusing McConnell of 'threatening the integrity of, and faith in, our democratic institutions.' "

Stefano Kotsonis produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on July 29, 2019.



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