UPDATE (07/24/19): During his testimony before Congress, former special counsel Robert Mueller called Russian electoral meddling “among the most serious” challenges to US democracy that he’d ever encountered and added, “[T]his deserves the attention of every American.” The Senate must act immediately to pass the FIRE Act and safeguard our elections.
During an interview with ABC News on June 13th, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump “if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?” Trump responded “I think you might want to listen, there’s nothing wrong with listening…. it’s not an interference, they have information. I think I’d take it.” He went on to say that the “FBI Director is wrong” for believing foreign inference and contact should be reported to the FBI.
With Trump publicly stating he would accept foreign interference in our elections, he has opened the door and asked for outside players to act on his behalf in 2020. The Mueller report cited at least 140 contacts between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian nationals or Wikileaks, making this explosive admission by Trump a tangible threat to our democracy.
To require campaigns report contact with foreign nationals, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has introduced S. 1562, the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act (FIRE Act). The legislation would require campaigns to report any contacts with foreign nationals who are attempting to make campaign donations or otherwise coordinate with the campaign within a week of the contact. It would also require the preservation of any relevant documents or records regarding the contact.
It is time for both Republicans and Democrats to take concrete steps to secure our 2020 elections. Without doing so, we run the risk of delegitimizing our elections and democracy.