According to a report by Senate Democrats, as some European countries work to counter what seems a growing problem of Russian interference, President Donald Trump has offered no plan of action when it comes to protecting the United States from further Russian attempts at meddling.
The report commissioned by the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the first from Congress to comprehensively detail Russian efforts to undermine democracies since the 2016 presidential election. It wastes no time in calling out Trump personally for what it describes as a failure to respond to Russia’s mounting destabilization activities in the U.S. and worldwide. The report was obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its public release Wednesday.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland accused Trump of ignoring "a grave and growing threat to U.S. national security".
So far, the president personally has shown little interest in addressing Russia’s activities. During a November trip to Asia, where he met with Putin, Trump said of the Russian leader “he said he didn’t meddle” and added: “I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
The senators' report offers policy suggestions, including more aggressive financial sanctions and acquiring cooperation from social media companies in dealing with Russian political messaging.
The report also pushes for the administration to fully fund and utilize the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which it says is hobbled by “a lack of urgency and self-imposed constraints” under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The center was created in 2016 to blunt terrorist propaganda. It duties have expanded to include countering Russian propaganda under legislation last year from Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn.