Washington (CNN)The biggest takeaway from Robert Mueller’s appearances on Capitol Hill is not that Donald Trump may have obstructed justice, although that’s what most people continue to argue about.
It’s that Russians are still interfering in US elections.
“They’re doing it as we sit here,” Mueller told lawmakers of Russian interference. Earlier he’d said how that aspect of his investigation has been underplayed will have a long-term effect on the US.
In his report, the former special counsel disclosed that Russian hackers compromised local election systems of two Florida counties in 2016, a development later confirmed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, although he said no votes were changed. And while Mueller did not bring conspiracy charges, it’s been well documented that Russians in 2016 were doing their best to help Trump, not Clinton, win.
Yet despite Mueller’s testimony, the special counsel report and alarming statements from elsewhere in Washington, public urgency on addressing Russian interference for the 2020 election appears lacking.
On Wednesday, Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith blocked consideration of a trio of House-passed bills focused on election security.democrats plan to make election security a 2020 issue.
“Russians massively intervened in 2016 and they are prepared to do so again in voting that is set to begin a mere eight months from now,” said House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, pointing out the one thing the Mueller report makes absolutely clear.
“(The) President seems to welcome the help again,” Schiff alleged, adding, “And so we must make all efforts to harden our elections infrastructure, to ensure there is a paper trail for all voting, to deter the Russians from meddling, to discover it when they do, to disrupt it and make them pay.”