Yesterday, President Donald Trump told CBS News that he did not feel that Russia had any intentions on “meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.” This sent Republican members of d the Senate to start the process of crafting bills to make sure that Russia was aware they would be stronger than the president on this issue.
Sen. Marco Rubio was quick to respond to Resident Trump’s remarks. He said Trump’s claim that Russia no longer presents a threat “is just not true.” The junior Senator from Florida told POLITICO,
“In the end, we can present people with information. But you can’t force anyone to say what you want them to say, especially the president of the United States,” said Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.). “Our job is to pass laws and do things that are for the good of the country … and one of those things should be [imposing] strong deterrence measures with pre-positioned penalties should [Russian meddling] ever happen again.”
Rubio was one of the first to start the ball rolling on getting a bill on the floor as soon as possible. The urgency to have something on the books soon cannot be understated.
From the start of the intelligence briefings on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections, Sen. Rubio has been warning his fellow Republicans that what happened to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats could just as easily happen to them.
As we near the 2018 Midterm election Sen. Rubio is one of a number of Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill that want to distance themselves from President Donald Trump when it comes to his lukewarm responses to Russians possible involvement in the 2018 elections and beyond.
Sen. Rubio along with Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen are introducing legislation that measure would impose stiff economic penalties on Russia if it meddles in a U.S. election in 2018 and beyond.
“I feel really good that the language we have could pass,” Rubio said. “We’re going to have an election here very soon, and we need to act quickly to put in place penalties to discourage another attack.”
When asked if he thought that he could change President Trump stance on Russia not meddling in the upcoming elections he responded. “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to change his mind on it, but I can tell you we can pass a law that does something about it,” he added.
According to some impressive reporting in today’s edition of The Hill, there seems to be an urgency to go on the record against Russia and their meddling in United States elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated to colleagues that he may bring the bill straight to the floor, skipping the committee process to save time. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday declined to say whether the administration supports the Rubio-Van Hollen bill.
At the moment it does not seem as if the House has any bills that are far enough along to bring to a vote. They may just see how far the Rubio-Van Hollen legislation progresses. But it is clear that Republicans are happy to have bi-partisan support on getting a bill to Trump’s desk. The big question remains if he would sign the bill into law.
QUOTES IN THIS STORY WERE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS