‘The Facts Are Clear’: NY AG Says Trump’s Waffling on Russia Threatens America’s Election Systems

Trump-Putin presser John Brennan

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has accused President Donald Trump of waffling on the issue of Russian electoral interference. Her comments were made in the context of an announcement regarding basic U.S. electoral integrity.

On Monday, 21 attorneys general issued a letter urging Congress to prioritize the security of American election systems in time for the 2018 midterm elections “and [further] elections to come.” In a press release accompanying the letter, Underwood railed:

No matter how much President Trump waffles, the facts are clear: Russia interfered with our 2016 elections. It’s high time that Congress act to prevent the next attack – because our democracy depends on it. Our bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General has outlined basic steps Congress can take right now to protect election integrity, before it’s too late.

The letter itself is a bit less accusatory:

As the latest investigations and indictments make clear, during the 2016 election, hackers within Russia’s military intelligence service not only targeted state and local election boards, but also successfully invaded a state election website to steal the sensitive information of approximately 500,000 American voters and infiltrated a company that supplies voting software across the United States.

Culled from the ranks of both the Democratic and Republican parties, the bipartisan group of attorneys general urged Congress to adopt three distinct proposals.

First, the letter suggests that Congress act on “election-security legislation” such as the Secure Elections Act, which is currently before the Senate. This bill was introduced by a large group of bi-partisan senators.

Second, the letter requests increased funding for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in order “to support election security improvements at the state level and to protect the personal data of the voters” of the states in question.

The EAC is a little-known government entity tasked with myriad voting-and-election-related duties, including the creation of a national standard for voting systems in the United States. This agency is relatively new and its effectiveness is mostly untested; allegations of chronic underfunding have plagued the EAC since its inception after the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002.

Third, the attorneys general letter calls for the imposition of “cybersecurity standards” across voting networks nationally. The letter asserts, “It is critical that there be a combined effort between governments and security experts to protect against the increased cyber threats posed by foreign entities seeking to weaken our institutions.”

[image via screengrab/Twitter/White House]

Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

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