US senators push sanctions to send Putin election meddling warning

Trump & Putin

President Donald Trump said he is "very concerned" that Russian Federation will interfere in the upcoming congressional elections - to help the Democrats. Since then, the summit in Helsinki between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has only stoked criticism from legislators. Bolton suggested the decision not to meet sooner was due to special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Mr Putin said at the summit he would allow the U.S. to interrogate the officials, provided Russian Federation could do the same in America, something Mr Trump called an "interesting idea", to the great concern of senior USA security advisers.

He tweeted: "I'm very concerned that Russian Federation will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election".

"Just as Vladimir Putin has made clear his intention to challenge American power, influence, and security interests at home and overseas, the United States must make it abundantly clear that we will defend our nation and not waver in our rejection of his effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia's future", they added, referring to the Russian president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) last week tasked them to hold hearings on beefing up the "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)", the bipartisan bill which the Senate and House passed in August 2017, thinking thereby that they had blocked President Trump's ability to do what he just did towards reestablishing friendly relations with Russian Federation. Matters were clear that India was not going to back down under US threat as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on July 13: "We told the US Congress delegation (that visited India) this is a US law, and not one of the United Nations". Days before Trump's meeting with Putin this month, Mueller obtained indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for their interference in the election.

Democrats are seeking to take control of the House of Representatives and Senate in the November elections from the Republicans.

"The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russian Federation witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year", Bolton said in a statement that was distributed to the White House press pool.

Democrats said Republicans haven't done enough to keep the vote secure this fall.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the Aspen Security Forum last week that she stood by her comments that she has no indication so far that "Russia is targeting the 2018 midterms at a scale or scope to match their activities in 2016". In 2016, he repeatedly claimed the election was "rigged".

The very makeup of the election infrastructure — decentralized and different in every state — provides some protection against hacking efforts.

Lawmakers from both parties have raised concerns about Trump's approach to the Russian leader.

"We worked closely together to write the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which substantially expanded sanctions on Russia and overwhelmingly passed both the Senate and House last summer, and are eager to continue the important work being done by our committees to push back on Russia", Sen.

Even if state elections systems are better protected, other threats remain.

"In my opinion, there is no doubt that they intervened and will intervene (in elections) in the future", said Rubio. The company would not disclose the candidates, citing privacy issues.

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