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Former Washington Journalist
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With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans unwilling to bring election security legislation to a vote, American democracy is at risk, according to independent experts.
McConnell (R-Ky) has indicated that he is unwilling to bring legislation to the Senate floor which would harden US election systems from the kinds of interference which former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about just last week in testimony before two House committees.
“It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here,” Mueller said of the Russians. “And they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
CNN political analyst John Avlon questioned how Senate Republicans blocking election security legislation meets US interests.
“That fact that a hostile foreign power attacked us and is continuing to attack us is something that should unite us all regardless of party. But it doesn’t. In fact, under President Trump it’s tended to have the opposite effect,” Avlon said. “And it’s outrageous that at the same time Mueller was issuing that warning, a Republican senator from Mississippi named Cindy Hyde-Smith was single-handedly blocking two election security bills.
“The Democrats tried to pass it by unanimous consent. Hyde-Smith objected. She didn’t even feel she needed a reason to do it,” Avlon added. “But what made her action even more insulting is that it came one day after FBI Director [Christopher] Wray told the Senate this.”
If the Russians can interfere in US elections with impunity, Americans will see other nations, including Iran, do likewise, according to national security expert and author Malcolm Nance.
“I am not joking when I say this could be the last free and fair election in American history,” Nance said. “It may not be a free and fair election. Look, even players like Iran who have also a good cyber warfare capability, they have an initiative, an interest to make this election be filled with as much chaos as possible, if only to punish Donald Trump.
“So we should see that all sorts of foreign actors and cyber actors and humans, human intelligence agents as we saw Russia bring into the United States before, it is in their interest to create not just chaos, but to bring the United States to the point where its system of government, this constitutional republic no longer functions for the American people,” Nance added.