Tags: richard blumenthal | trump | russia | threat | indictments

Sen. Blumenthal: Congress Must Push for Trump to Address Russian Threat

Image: Sen. Blumenthal: Congress Must Push for Trump to Address Russian Threat
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By    |   Monday, 16 July 2018 07:54 AM

Congress must "persuade or compel" President Donald Trump to address the threat made to national security through Russian meddling into the 2016 election, as such cyberattacks have been considered by experts as an "act of war," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday, just before the president and Russian President Vladimir Putin headed into their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki.

"It affects not only our American democracy but also democracies around the world," the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," while commenting about the indictments of 12 Russian officers on Friday.

"Now, more than ever at a time of threat to western democracy from this cyberattack by Vladimir Putin, we need to be rallying together."

The indictments show coordinated efforts to break into several key Democratic email accounts, including those from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and come while special counsel Robert Mueller investigations coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The indictment named no Americans and does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved, but on Monday, Blumenthal commented that it's "left unsaid" that there are Americans "who are named in the indictment not by name, but in fact, they are included."

Republicans have spoken out, said Blumenthal.

"I can recall vividly John McCain and I in one Armed Services Committee after another at hearings with our cyber experts saying to them, under the [Barack] Obama administration as well as this administration, why has there been no definition of an act of war in cyber, because we have been attacked," said Blumenthal.

"It is an act of war."

Most Republicans, particularly in the House, see the ongoing investigation as an "attack" on Trump and the investigation moving toward criminal culpability for members of his campaign, "and with good reason."

He also complained that members of the House of Representatives were "haranguing and harassing constituents" while questioning FBI agent Peter Strzok in a "concerted campaign to discredit and stop this investigation."

"Clearly, as you can see from the indictment, the Russian hacking operation and intelligence mechanism reached out to Trump operatives," said Blumenthal.

He said he believes the Senate will make an effort toward compelling Trump to act, after it voted last week by 97-2 for a resolution supporting NATO.

"We are continuing to be committed because we are facing a continuing act of war by Vladimir Putin," said Blumenthal. "He has tried to divide us, cause disarray and he will stop at nothing to destroy the western democracy."

Blumenthal said he thinks there would be "very strong bipartisan support" to take action against Putin in several sectors of the Senate, including in the Armed Services Committee, where he sits, as well as the Judiciary Committee and Congress as a whole.

"We can accomplish many of them by revealing some of the assets that Putin and his oligarchs have in this country and other western democracy and some of the corruption that exists in his own country," said Blumenthal.

"If you want to name and shame, as Mueller is doing in his investigation, plus heightening sanctions, we need to hit back hard and make the Russians pay a price and also define what cyber war means."

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Congress must "persuade or compel" President Donald Trump to address the threat made to national security through Russian meddling into the 2016 election.
richard blumenthal, trump, russia, threat, indictments
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2018-54-16
Monday, 16 July 2018 07:54 AM
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