Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is pushing for a bill setting automatic penalties against Russia if it is found to have meddled in any U.S. elections.
His comments came Friday during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”
“It’s very clear that President [Donald] Trump is not interested in defending the integrity of our election so Congress has to stop up to the plate,” he said.
Van Hollen said the DETER Act he introduced with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., earlier this year, would “create a mechanism whereby if the director of National Intelligence determines that Vladimir Putin and Russia have interfered with the 2018 elections, or any other election, there are automatic, tough economic sanctions.”
“So, if you’re Putin and you’re trying to do a cost/benefit analysis about whether it’s worth interfering in another election, you will know if you get caught your economy will get clobbered.,” he said.
“The idea is to deter Putin from taking action again.”
But Van Hollen said he is uncertain whether the Senate leadership will permit the bill to go to a vote.
“I think the jury is still out on that,” he said. “This is a moment where words, public criticism and resolutions that condemn the president’s actions, but actually have no teeth, are not enough. This is a moment where we have to step up and actually take action.”
The proposed legislation also threatens other nations that might try similar actions.
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