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Republican blocks bill requiring campaigns to alert FBI to foreign assistance

Marsha blackburn
Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) blocked an effort by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to pass a bill via unanimous consent requiring campaigns to report any offers of foreign assistance to the FBI.

"We are all for free and fair and honest elections. ... These reporting requirements are overbroad. Presidential campaigns would have to worry about disclosure at a variety of levels. So many different levels. Consider this: vendors that work for a campaign, people that are supplying some kind of voter service to a campaign. ... It would apply to door knockers, it would apply to phone bankers, down to any person who shares their views with a candidate."

Warner then countered that Blackburn's reading of the legislation is "not accurate .., The only thing that would have to be reported is if the agent of a foreign government or national offered that something that was already prohibited."

The big picture: President Trump's comments on Wednesday that he would consider accepting intelligence on a political opponent from a foreign entity set off immediate outrage from Democrats, who see it as an invitation for foreign adversaries to interfere in future U.S. elections. Lawmakers in both the Senate and the House have renewed calls to pass election security measures, with some going as far as to call Trump's comments "anti-American" and grounds for impeachment.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, responding to Blackburn's objection, said on the Senate floor: "How disgraceful it is that our Republican friends cower before this president when they know that the things he does severely damage democracy."

Go deeper ... Pelosi on Trump's foreign dirt comments: "Everyone should be appalled"