Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho blocked a bill on Tuesday that was intended to keep Russia from interfering in American elections. The bill has been in the works for months and was introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland on the Democratic side of the aisle and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on the Republican side of the aisle.
The bill, which is titled the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines — or the DETER Act — would require the Director of National Intelligence to “determine with a high level of confidence whether or not the government of a foreign country, or any foreign person acting as an agent of or on behalf of that government, knowingly engaged in interference in the election.” The bill tasks the DNI with making that determination within 60 days.
The bill would also require the president or somebody designated by the president to brief Congressional leadership every 90 days on possible foreign election interference.
On the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senator Van Hollen said that the bill is “designed to send a very clear and simple message to Russia or any other country that is thinking about interfering in our elections and undermining our democracy — that if we catch you, you will suffer a severe penalty.”
Van Hollen added that he and Rubio introduced the legislation years ago but that they have made changes “in responses to concerns that were raised.”
Here is a clip of Sen. Van Hollen’s Tuesday speech.
After blocking the bill, Crapo told The Hill, “the mechanisms in this bill have been designed more to attack the Trump administration and Republicans than to attack the Russians and those who would attack our country and our elections.” He said that the bill would be able to get through the Senate when “we can stop trying to make it anti-Trump or anti-Republican.”