Senate Bill Promises Retaliation If Russia Again Meddles in Elections
Senators from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday introduced the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Readiness Act (DETER) that intends to deter foreign election meddling by threatening countries with retaliatory actions. The bill also specifies sanctions that could be used against Russia in particular, since the Kremlin influenced the 2016 US presidential elections and will almost certainly try to do the same in 2020.
The bill comes in the wake of the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. According to Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) “[t]he one clear message we can all take away from the Mueller Report—along with the consensus of our intelligence chiefs—is that Russia worked to manipulate the American people and undermine our democratic process in 2016.” In order to prevent this in 2020, Hollen believes that the US government should “[make] it clear in advance that attempts to interfere in our elections will be met with swift, harsh consequences, [so] we can deter hostile foreign powers from taking future interference.”