March 19, 2018

Van Hollen Discusses Russia, DETER Act on MSNBC

Last night, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen discussed Russia and the bipartisan Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act on MSNBC with Kasie Hunt. Below is a partial transcript, and the full interview is available here:

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: Speaking of Putin, you are working with some of your colleagues on measures to try and avoid Russian meddling again in the 2018 elections. What do you think that the country should be doing at this stage? And is the President doing remotely enough?

SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): So, the President is doing virtually nothing, right? He finally ordered some sanctions on some Russian oligarchs, but only after Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation saying he had to do it. And when they finally did it, they put sanctions on people who had already been sanctioned by President Obama or already indicted by Mueller…. The State Department has been allocated tens of millions of dollars to come up with a plan to prevent Russian meddling – they haven't spent one penny. So, the President has done nothing.

Senator Rubio and I have introduced legislation to try to prevent, to deter interference in our next election. And every one of the President's own intelligence heads has said be prepared, because they're going to do it.

So, it's very simple. We would say within 30 days of the election, the Director of National Intelligence reports to Congress – have the Russians interfered or have they not? If they've interfered, they cross a trip wire and automatic, non-waivable, tough sanctions go into place. Not against some oligarchs – against the Russian oil sector, the banking sector.

So, if you're Putin, and you've just been reelected, and you're thinking of interfering in the U.S. elections – you will know if you get caught this time, you will pay a very big penalty.

The DETER Act has received bipartisan praise from Robert Blackwill and Philip Gordon at the Council for Foreign Relations, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.