Sen. Shaheen calls for more aggressive response to Russian election interferenceStaff Report
April 27. 2017 8:24PM
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is calling for a more aggressive response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, with more rigorous sanctions, working with allies to counter militarily, and exposing Russia’s “propaganda juggernaut.”
Shaheen, D-N.H., in a speech Thursday at the Center for American Progress in Washington, emphasized the need for an independent investigation.
“This outrage isn’t about party or partisanship,” she said. “It’s about patriotism and defending America’s democracy, which is under attack.”
Her remarks came amid reports that Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser for President Donald Trump, is under investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general in connection with payments from foreign governments.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., released a letter showing that Flynn was warned in 2014 that he should receive prior approval before accepting money, including a $45,000 fee from the RT News, a Russian television network operating under Vladimir Putin.
Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took aim at RT News reports in America, which she said are part of Putin’s misinformation campaign.
“If Russia gets a pass on 2016, it could interefere with future elections,” she said.
President Trump has downplayed Russian interference and hacking of Democrats’ email servers as a big influence in the race for the White House. In her speech, Shaheen cited the Director of National Intelligence’s declassified report that assessed that Putin ordered an “influence campaign” targeting the U.S. presidential election, with a goal of undermining faith in the democratic process and preferring Trump win.
The tougher sanctions backed by Shaheen include actions against Russia’s energy sector, and would reflect legislative efforts led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.
Shaheen is recommending that the U.S., at the NATO summit next month in Brussels, formally call out Russia for reported violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.