Feb 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Intel details Obama administration's response to 2016 Russian interference

Sens. Mark Warner and Richard Burr. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday released the third volume of its report on foreign interference in the 2016 election, which covered the U.S. government's response to Russia's hacking of Democratic emails and social media manipulation efforts.

The big picture: The committee found that the government was "not well-postured" to counter Russian interference with policy measures and that the Obama administration was constrained by its reluctance to publicize election meddling for fear of appearing political.

  • "The Committee found that decisions to limit and delay the information flow regarding the 2016 Russian active measures campaign, while understandable, inadvertently constrained the administration's ability to respond," the committee writes in its findings.

Driving the news: The third volume of the report was released one day after President Trump was acquitted by the Senate for attempting to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.

  • In the "recommendations" section of its report, the committee states that the president "should take steps to separate himself or herself from political considerations when handling issues related to foreign influence operations."
  • "These steps should include explicitly putting aside politics when addressing the American people on election threats and marshalling all the resources of the U.S. government to effectively confront the threat," the report continues.

Read the full report.

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GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn blocks three election security bills

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to pass three election security-related bills via "unanimous consent," calling them a "federal power grab."

Why it matters: Just last week, the third volume of a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report found that the U.S. government was "not well-postured" to counter Russian interference in 2016. The Democratic-controlled House passed several election security bills last year, but none have been taken up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National security adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Report: Sanders says he was briefed on Russia trying to help his campaign

Bernie Sanders at a press conference in Santa Ana, California on Feb. 21. Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters at a campaign stop Friday that he was briefed by U.S. officials "about a month ago" on Russia's attempts to assist his 2020 presidential campaign, AP reports. "It was not clear what role they were going to play," he added.

Driving the news: Sanders' comments followed a Washington Post report that U.S. officials briefed Sanders on Russian efforts to help his 2020 campaign "as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy