Senators Chris Coons, a Democrat, and Jeff Flake, a Republican have introduced a resolution that would support the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and beyond, agree with and support the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia, with Vladimir Putin pulling the strings, hacked the election and “reaffirm” that Russia should be “held accountable.” The Resolution also calls for Congressional hearing on the Helsinki summit and demands the implementation of sanctions on Russia.
Thursday morning, the Senators said they’d take to the Senate floor and “ask our colleagues to speak in a clear, bipartisan voice to say that we know Russia interfered with our election and that they must be held accountable.”
In a tweet from Flake, he said, “If a Senator disagrees, they need to come to the floor & explain why.”
Flake tweeted he’d be on the Senate floor shortly and among the questions he wanted answers to was, “The Russian ambassador says that “important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki summit. What are those commitments, Mr. President? Congress needs to know.
The resolution reads in part, “This body must reaffirm that we stand with the men and women of the Department of Justice, who have brought these 12 indictments against individuals from the Russian Federation who interfered with our elections,” said Flake. “I hope the president will take the word of our intelligence agencies rather than the empty words of a dictator.”
“Russia’s attacks on our 2016 election were attacks on all of us – Republicans and Democrats. After the President’s actions over the past week, it’s important for the Senate to speak in a clear, bipartisan voice to say that we stand with and believe our Department of Justice and our Intelligence Community and that we will not tolerate future attacks from Russia or anyone else on our democracy,” said Coons. “We know that we face continuing threats to our elections in 2018 and beyond, and it’s past time for Congress to work together to secure our democracy.”
Pres. Donald Trump has been accused of treason and called a traitor when he stood beside Putin and said he believed Russia did not interfere with the US election.
Flake said what happened in Helskini, “ranging from heartbreak and horror” was “truly Orwellian.”
But Coons and Flake barely got out of the gate on the Senate floor. After making their initial remarks, GOP Whip Sen. John Cornyn said a resolution was unnecessary and moved to block it because “It’s clear (the Russians) did it and the President has said so on a number of occasions,” but added that Trump misspoke in Helskini and later corrected himself by saying he said “would” instead of “wouldn’t.” Cronyn also said that despite the Russian cyber attack on the election, not a single vote was impacted and added there’s no “evidence of collusion” with the Russians.
The two Senators have pledged to bring the Resolution back to the floor.
Watch the discussion on the Senate floor here.