Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation is full of elaborate details on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and members of Congress who have read Attorney General William Barr’s redacted version of the report are fearful that Russian operatives will interfere in the 2020 election as well. Various bills promoting election security have been proposed in the Senate, but according to an in-depth report by Vox’s Li Zhou, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has no interest in bringing them up for a vote.
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri explained McConnell’s opposition last week, saying, “I think the majority leader just is of the view that this debate reaches no conclusion.” And according to Zhou, McConnell’s decision is driven, in part, by “Trump’s aversion to the subject, which the president sees as too closely tied to questions about the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Zhou goes on to say that “McConnell’s unwillingness to tackle election security” is not only “sending a political message,” but also “has massive consequences.” And because of McConnell’s inaction on election security, Zhou asserts, the U.S. Senate “is now effectively promoting a do-nothing approach to a subject that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and countless national security officials have raised as a serious threat that requires additional action.”
Together, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar—one of the many candidates competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary—and Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma recently co-sponsored an election security bill. And Zhou reports that opposition to their bill came from both McConnell and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. According to Klobuchar, McGahn “called Republicans about the bill, didn’t want them to do it,” while McConnell “also didn’t want the bill to move forward. So it was a double-edged thing.”
Zhou reports that “Trump’s position on such bills—and McConnell’s longstanding resistance to advancing them—could mean that they’ll remain stalled.” And when it comes to election security bills, Zhou writes, the Senate majority leader “is just fine following Trump’s lead.”