WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report by Senate Democrats warns of deepening Russian interference throughout Europe and concludes that even as some Western democracies have responded with aggressive countermeasures, President Donald Trump has offered no strategic plan to bolster their efforts or safeguard the U.S. from again falling victim to Kremlin 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.
“Never before has a U.S. president so clearly ignored such a grave and growing threat to U.S. national security,” the report released by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland warns.
Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the committee, didn’t sign on to the report. But even without formal GOP backing, the recounting of Russian operations in 19 European nations foreshadows the still-unpublished findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan inquiry into Russia’s role during the U.S. election.
Cardin said the roughly 200-page report is built on both Republican and Democratic ideas, and he commissioned it to show Americans the scope of efforts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine democracy.
“We knew after the 2016 elections that we were vulnerable, but the 2016 elections were just a small part of Russia’s overall design, Mr. Putin’s design to try to compromise democratic institutions,” Cardin said at the report’s public release at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Washington-based think tank focused on European and North American cooperation.
Cardin’s inquiry lays blame directly on Putin for a “relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States.” Concerned that Trump has failed to identify Russian aggression as a national rallying point, the report urges a “stronger congressional voice” in pro-democracy efforts and funding. The report calls for committee hearings and other bipartisan efforts to aid European nations in countering Russian aggression.
In a statement, Corker spokesman Micah Johnson emphasized that the GOP-led committee had pushed for tougher sanctions…