Senator Durbin Questions Trump Admin On Efforts To Stop Future Election Interference

Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) (Source: Durbin.senate.gov)
By: Rosemary Piser

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) pressed members of the Trump Administration on their efforts to thwart future election interference by the Russians or any adversary of the United States.  It has been determined that in 2016, Russia successfully hacked into the Illinois State Board of Elections’ voter registration system and targeted at least 20 other states with similar attacks.

At the hearing Senator Durbin said, “We do know that Special Counsel Mueller has aggressively gone after Russian interference.  He has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian corporations, in addition to seven others, that might have been complicit in this effort.  But when we look at the money given to States – $380 million for the United States of America, I think Illinois shares something like $13 million and we were hacked by the Russians – I wonder if we can really point to a record where we have aggressively gone after Russian interference, set up defenses and deterrence so that they will not do this again in November.”

Durbin continued, “I just don’t think we have shown an intensity of focus and purpose to let the Russians or any other country know that we are serious enough when it comes to this next election, and we are only a few weeks away.”

Durbin also discussed his bipartisan bill with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the bipartisan Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes (DETER) Act.  This bill will prevent foreign regimes from exploiting our immigration laws to advance their efforts to undermine our democracy by making “improper interference in U.S. elections” a ground of inadmissibility under U.S. immigration law. Violators would be barred from obtaining a visa to enter the United States.

The DETER Act is in response to threats like those revealed by the Special Counsel’s indictment of Russians who traveled to the United States with the explicit purpose to learn more about American political and electoral processes and how they could interfere with such processes.  The indictment describes how two of the thirteen individuals gathered intelligence during a three-week trip in June 2014.

According to the indictment, the individuals “falsely claimed they were traveling for personal reasons.”  While in the United States, the individuals traveled to Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York “for the purpose of collecting intelligence to inform the [Internet Research Agency’s] operations.”  A third individual attempted to travel to the United States, but did not receive a visa, and an additional co-conspirator, who is not listed in the indictment, traveled to Atlanta in November 2014.

Source: www.durbin.senate.gov

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