National: Time’s running out if Congress wants to boost 2020 election security | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

If Congress wants to deliver more money for states to secure the 2020 election against hackers, it had better get moving. That’s the message from Vermont’s top election official, Jim Condos (D), who ends his term as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State this week. There are just about six months left during which states could responsibly spend a big infusion of federal money aimed at protecting the 2020 contest, Condos told me. If Congress approves new funding after that, most of it won’t be spent until the next federal election cycle, he said. The warning comes as intelligence officials are cautioning that Russia and other U.S. adveraries are likely to try to interfere in the 2020 election in a repeat of the Russian hacking and disinformation operation that upended the 2016 contest. “It takes time to plan, to do assessments. We all have procurement rules we have to follow … and we want to be responsible stewards of congressional money,” Condos told me by phone from the National Association of Secretaries of States’s summer conference in Santa Fe, N.M. The prospects of Congress delivering new money in that timeframe don’t look good.

National: Hacking, Glitches, Disinformation: Why Experts Are Worried About the 2020 Census | Chris Hamby/The New York Times

In the run-up to the 2020 census, the government has embraced technology as never before, hoping to halt the ballooning cost of the decennial head count. For the first time, households will have the option of responding online, and field workers going door to door will be equipped with smartphones to log the information they collect. To make it all work, the Census Bureau needed more computing power and digital storage space, so it turned to cloud technology provided by Amazon Web Services. What the bureau didn’t realize — until an audit last year — was that there was an unsecured door to sensitive data left open. Access credentials for an account with virtually unlimited privileges had been lost, potentially allowing a hacker to view, alter or delete information collected during recent field tests. The Census Bureau says that it has closed off this vulnerability and that no information was compromised. But the discovery of the problem highlights the myriad risks facing next year’s all-important head count.

National: US Cyber Command issues alert about hackers exploiting Outlook vulnerability | Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet

US Cyber Command has issued an alert via Twitter today about threat actors abusing an Outlook vulnerability to plant malware on government networks. The vulnerability is CVE-2017-11774, a security bug that Microsoft patched in Outlook in the October 2017 Patch Tuesday. The Outlook bug, discovered and detailed by security researchers from SensePost, allows a threat actor to escape from the Outlook sandbox and run malicious code on the underlying operating system. The bug was privately reported by SensePost researchers in the fall of 2017, but by 2018, it had been weaponized by an Iranian state-sponsored hacking group known as APT33 (or Elfin), primarily known for developing the Shamoon disk-wiping malware. At the time, in late December 2018, ATP33 hackers were deploying backdoors on web servers, which they were later using to push the CVE-2017-11774 exploit to users’ inboxes, so they can infect their systems with malware.

National: Will hacked voting machines decide the 2020 election? | Andrew Eversden/Fifth Domain

Cybersecurity professionals are concerned about foreign cyber operations and vulnerabilities in voting machines as the days tick down to the first 2020 primaries in February. According to a new survey of 345 cybersecurity professionals by Black Hat USA, 63 percent of respondents said that the hacking of voting machines in the next election is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to have a “significant impact” on election results. U.S. government leaders, however, stress that they have prioritized the security of election systems, with one senior administration official on a June 24 press call referring to the defense against hacking of election infrastructure “our highest priority.” “We do believe that the 2020 elections are a potential target for state and non-state cyber actors and we continue to observe unknown actors attempt suspicious and malicious activity against internet-connected infrastructure periodically,” a senior intelligence official said.

National: US election security official highlights email threat | Morgan Lee/Associated Press

Beware the phishing attempts. An election security official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday warned top state election officials nationwide to safeguard against fraudulent emails targeting state and local election workers. The emails appear as if they come from a legitimate source and contain links that, if clicked, can open up election data systems to manipulation or attacks. Geoff Hale, director of the department’s Election Security Initiative, told a gathering of secretaries of state that the nation’s decentralized voting systems remain especially vulnerable to emails that can trick unsuspecting workers into providing access to elections databases. “We know that phishing is how a significant number of state and local government networks become exploited,” Hale told scores of secretaries of state gathered in the New Mexico capital city. “Understanding your organization’s susceptibility to phishing is one of the biggest things you can do.”

National: New study shows Russian propaganda may really have helped Trump | Ken Dilanian/NBC

President Donald Trump and his allies have long insisted that Russian’s 2016 propaganda campaign on social media had no impact on the presidential election. A new statistical analysis says it may well have. The study, by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does not prove that Russian interference swung the election to Trump. But it demonstrates that Trump’s gains in popularity during the 2016 campaign correlated closely with high levels of social media activity by the Russian trolls and bots of the Internet Research Agency, a key weapon in the Russian attack. “Our results show that the weeks when Russian trolls were accumulating likes and retweets on Twitter, that activity reliably foreshadowed gains for Trump in the opinion polls,” wrote Damian Ruck, the study’s lead researcher, in an article explaining his findings. The study found that every 25,000 re-tweets by accounts connected to the IRA predicted a 1 percent increase in opinion polls for Trump. In an interview with NBC News, Ruck said the research suggests that Russian trolls helped shift U.S public opinion in Trump’s favor. As to whether it affected the outcome of the election: “The answer is that we still don’t know, but we can’t rule it out.” Given that the election turned on 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, “it is a prospect that should be taken seriously,” Ruck wrote, adding that more study was needed in those swing states.

National: DOD’s cyber policy deputy clarifies homeland support role | Lauren C. Williams/FCW

The Defense Department is settling into its support role when it comes to defending national infrastructure from cyberattacks. B. Edwin Wilson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said during a panel talk at the Defense One Tech Summit June 27 that DOD doesn’t replace Homeland Security but has a clear, firm role in relaying intelligence and providing support during elections. “The department does have a role in the defense of the homeland,” Wilson said. “We’re not trying to do DHS’ job … we’re here to support” in areas such as the midterm elections. He added that while DHS’ primary role is securing election infrastructure, DOD shares intelligence on threats to it and help update sensors to compromised systems. “We want to bring the weight, the scale, the scope of the Department of Defense to be able to defend the homeland, our critical infrastructure, and key national interests,” he said.

National: On election security, these members bring a fresh(man) take | Tami Abdollah/Daily Journal

For the past eight weeks, seven freshman members of Congress have quietly met each Monday in a spare House conference room to tackle a problem they feel their more senior colleagues haven’t done enough to address: election security. The six Democrats and one Republican call themselves Task Force Sentry, a title meant to signal their focus on crafting legislation to keep foreign adversaries from interfering with the U.S. political system. They bring a variety of backgrounds to the table, including some with experience in the CIA, military and the technology field. “We’re drawing a line in the sand,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia, a former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer. “We’re standing watch, we’ve been attacked, and a sentry stands watch to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

National: House Passes Election Security Package, With an Eye on Mitch McConnell | Nicholas Fandos/The New York Times

The House on Thursday approved expansive election security legislation that would mandate the use of backup paper ballots and postelection vote audits to guard against potential foreign meddling, seeking to pressure Senator Mitch McConnell to lift his blockade of election legislation in the upper chamber. Timed to coincide with the July 4 holiday, the House bill, which passed 225 to 184, largely along party lines, is the first and most expansive in a blitz of new measures that House Democrats say they will pass to address vulnerabilities highlighted by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. His report concluded that Russia had conducted “sweeping and systematic” interference in the 2016 presidential election, and members of both parties fear that not enough is being done to prevent that from happening again next year. Other legislation could include a requirement that political campaigns report to the F.B.I. any offer of assistance from a foreign power, new sanctions to punish Russia and other foreign powers that interfere with the American democratic processes, and bipartisan mandates for social media platforms like Facebook to disclose the purchasers of political advertisements. But with the Senate in Republican hands, Democrats have another, more immediate target in mind: trying to shame Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, into dropping his opposition to proposals — even bipartisan ones — and allowing his chamber to consider measures to better protect the vote. House leaders excoriated Mr. McConnell on Thursday and have urged their colleagues to hold events promoting the legislative action as they scatter across the country during the weeklong holiday recess.

National: Democrats promise to punish Russian hacking as Trump seems to make light of it | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Democratic presidential hopefuls promised to punish Russia for its 2016 hacking and disinformation campaign during the second night of their first debate Thursday. But their real target was President Trump, who has wavered on whether Russia was responsible for that hacking campaign — which U.S. intelligence agencies say was aimed at helping his electoral chances and hurting Hillary Clinton. They worry that Trump has been unusually friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), who’s among the top five candidates in national polls, called Trump the greatest threat to U.S. national security because “he takes the word of the Russian president over the word of the American intelligence community when it comes to a threat to our democracy and our elections.”

National: 2020 Democrats accelerate push for action to secure elections | Magie Miller/The Hill

Democratic presidential candidates are seizing on election security to attack Republicans for not doing enough to safeguard the country against foreign interference. The attacks were also part of this week’s Democratic debates, when a few candidates cited the threat posed by Russia, including their interference in the 2016 election as spelled out in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released earlier this year. The calls for action comes as Mueller prepares to testify before Congress next month and as Democrats’ push for enhanced election security has stalled because of Republican opposition. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), at the Democratic debate on Wednesday, blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for preventing passage of election security legislation. “We let the Republicans run our elections, and if we do not do something about Russian interference in the election, and we let Mitch McConnell stop all the back-up paper ballots, then we are not going to get to do what we want to do,” Klobuchar said.

National: Trump defends election meddling remarks to Putin | Jessica Campos/The Hill

President Trump on Saturday defended his remarks to Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he appeared to make light of Russian interference in the 2016 election. “You have to take a look at the word. I did say it,” Trump said during a news conference at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump said Saturday during a news conference that he and Putin had a “tremendous discussion” and suggested election interference came up at another point during their conversation, adding: “I did say it, and I did discuss it a little bit after that, too.” A White House readout issued after the roughly 90-minute meeting between Trump and Putin on Friday made no mention of election interference. Trump had met with Putin Friday where he was pressed by journalists on whether he would tell Russia not to interfere in U.S. elections. “Yes, of course, I will. Don’t meddle in the election, please. Don’t meddle in the election,” Trump said, pointing to Putin and flashing a grin. Putin appeared to chuckle in response.

National: Will Facebook’s New Cryptocurrency Enable Foreign Election Meddling? | Jonathan Berr/Forbes

Facebook is trying to convince U.S. regulators that it is ready to fight efforts by foreigners to interfere with the 2020 Presidential Election while at the same time promoting its Libra cryptocurrency that may make it easier to do just that. The social media giant says it will accept the cryptocurrency anywhere where it takes payments and at least for now won’t rule out allowing it to be used to buy political ads “It’s still early, and we are currently focused on building Calibra (The Facebook div8sion that will handle Libra) and working with the Libra Association and its members to launch Libra next year,” according to a Facebook spokesperson. “We don’t have any further specifics to share at this time.”  Some experts are concerned.  “If they design the system poorly then it will be easier for all of this problematic content to be funded,” Syracuse University Jennifer Grygiel recently told The Telegraph, a U.K. newspaper,

National: Three states responsible for half of all paperless e-voting machines in 2018, survey finds | Derek B. Johnson/FCW

Lawmakers and election security experts have focused much of their energies over the past two years on doing away with paperless Direct Recording Electronic voting machines. While such machines are not inherently more vulnerable to being hacked than other types of voting equipment, information security experts say they represent a unique threat because if compromised, they have no backup paper trail that officials can use in audits to detect discrepancies and determine an accurate vote count. Survey results from the Election Assistance Commission showed that just three states — Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas — were responsible for more than half of all DRE voting machines without voter verified paper trails used across the nation in 2018. The latest Election Administration and Voting Survey released June 27 also showed that 202,599 of the nation’s 334,422 voting machines used in the 2018 election were DRE machines. About one third (67,535) of those machines had paper backups in place, but 135,064 did not.

National: Bipartisan House committee members agree on cyber threats to elections, if not how to address it | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Members of two House Science subcommittees drilled experts about the security of voting machines during a hearing Tuesday afternoon, putting the spotlight on election security as congressional Democrats continue to push for action on the issue.  House members were given the chance to discuss the vulnerabilities of voting systems during a hearing held by the House Science subcommittees on investigations and oversight and on research and technology. While there was disagreement over specific Democrat-backed election security bills, subcommittee members seemed to come together over the need to address cybersecurity risks to voting machines. “When it comes to cybersecurity, the threat is constantly changing,” investigations subcommittee Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said. “It is our responsibility in Congress to help states arm themselves with advanced, adaptive strategies to prevent, detect, and recover from intrusions.”

National: Warren calls for major changes to US elections in latest campaign proposal | Christina Prignano/The Boston Globe

Senator Elizabeth Warren is calling for major changes to the way millions of Americans cast ballots in a proposal released on Tuesday, declaring the patchwork system of election administration run by the states a “national security threat” in the wake of attempted Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Warren wants Congress to standardize elections for federal office, with uniformly designed ballots and brand new voting machines in every polling place nationwide, combined with a “Fort Knox”-like security system to prevent tampering. The system would be run by a new federal Secure Democracy Administration. “This is a national security threat, and three years after a hostile foreign power literally attacked our democracy, we’ve done far too little to address it,” Warren wrote in a post on the Medium website announcing the plan. It is the latest in a series of detailed proposals released as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination and prepares for the first debate on Wednesday night.

National: Elizabeth Warren aims for the fences on election security | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the top-polling candidate in the first Democratic presidential debate tonight, also has the most ambitious plan for how to protect U.S. elections from foreign hackers. But that aim-for-the-fences approach, which Warren introduced in an eight-page blog post Tuesday, is sure to be a nonstarter among Republicans. And it will face serious scrutiny from some of Warren’s Democratic opponents who are championing a more practical approach to securing elections. Warren’s plan would basically federalize election security. Washington would set all the rules for protecting federal elections against hackers — such as using hand-marked paper ballots and conducting security audits — and it would also foot the bill. States that didn’t meet her requirements would face lawsuits from a new agency named the Secure Democracy Administration. It comes after the 2016 election in which Russian hackers and trolls stole emails and launched a disinformation campaign aimed at helping elect Donald Trump. Warren would commit $20 billion over 10 years to the plan, which also focuses on improving ballot access for minorities and ending gerrymandering. “Our elections should be as secure as Fort Knox. But instead, they’re less secure than your Amazon account,” the policy plan declares.

National: House Panel Grapples With Election Security Ahead of 2020 | Megan Mineiro/Courthouse News

A bipartisan warning came out of a House committee Tuesday that the U.S. election system remains vulnerable to attacks from Russia and other foreign adversaries as the 2020 elections nears. Democrats on two subpanels of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology called for a federal response to safeguard voting across the country, shadowed by some Republicans who cautioned elections should remain in the hands of state officials. But members were in agreement that every point of connectivity across the increasingly digital election system poses a vulnerable risk to the “cherished” democratic process. This consensus comes on the heels of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.” Experts at Tuesday’s hearing said across the country, election systems are weakened by aging technology and lack of expertise among personnel. Efforts to make voting more accessible and convenient also expose systems to targeting by foreign actors.

National: Senate GOP blocks election security bill | Jordain Carney/The Hill

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation aimed at bolstering the country’s election infrastructure despite a stalemate in the chamber on the issue. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, tried to call up the Election Security Act, which would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states, before it was blocked. “We know there’s a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks,” Klobuchar said from the Senate floor. Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can try to pass a bill or resolution by unanimous consent, but any one senator can also block that request. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) objected, arguing that he and Klobuchar were trying to draft separate legislation together and that he didn’t want to see election security become a partisan issue.

National: GOP senators nix vote on Election Security Act, similar bills wend their way through Congress | Teri Robinson/SC Media

Republicans in the Senate rebuffed an attempt by presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, to bring the Election Security Act to a vote Tuesday. “We know there’s a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks,” said Klobuchar when calling for a vote on the act, which would require voting systems to have paper ballots and give states grants for election election security. “There is a presidential election before us and if a few counties in one swing state or an entire state get hacked into there’s no backup paper ballots and we can’t figure out what happened, the entire election will be called into question,” she said. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who has worked with the Minnesota senator on bipartisan election security legislation, thwarted her efforts, noting their past collaboration and saying, “I think we still can resolve this and we can actually get a result, but a partisan proposal will not get us an end results where both parties come together and get to resolve this.”

National: Pelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that Congress will receive an election security briefing from administration officials next month, as Democrats put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow votes on election security bills. “Next month we will take further steps to harden our democratic institutions against attacks, and on July 10 we will receive the all-member election security briefing we requested from the administration so we can continue to protect the American people,” Pelosi said during a press conference. The Democratic leader announced the date after McConnell told reporters earlier this month that a briefing would take place, while not giving any more details. Pelosi was joined at the press conference Wednesday by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other congressional Democrats to promote passage of the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, which the House is set to vote on this week.

National: State officials demand voting system vendors reveal owners after Russian hacks and investments | Ben Popken/NBC

Election officials in North Carolina and Maryland are scrutinizing top voting system vendors for potential foreign ownership, demanding more transparency after revelations of Russian penetration into 2016 election systems and a Russian oligarch’s majority investment in an election data firm used by Maryland. In April, the report by special counsel Robert Mueller revealed that Russian-backed hackers inserted malware into a company’s system for voting registration in Florida during the last presidential election as part of the Kremlin-backed disruption campaign. The company name was redacted but executives for VR systems have said it was probably them, the AP reported. VR Systems disputed it was hacked. VR systems was also the vendor in Durham County, North Carolina, that experienced Election Day glitches and slowdowns. The federal Department of Homeland Security announced in early June that it will audit the laptops used that day, the government’s first forensic audit of equipment that malfunctioned during the election.

National: U.S. Sees Russia, China, Iran Trying to Influence 2020 Elections | Alyza Sebenius/Bloomberg

A Trump administration official said that Russia, China, and Iran are trying to manipulate U.S. public opinion ahead of the 2020 elections but that none has successfully corrupted physical election infrastructure, which remains a potential target for state and non-state actors. China has primarily used conventional media outlets to advocate for certain policies, including trade, while Russia and Iran have been more active on social media platforms, a senior U.S. intelligence official told reporters on Monday, speaking on the condition of not being identified. The administration has previously named the three countries for attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections and the 2018 midterms. The official didn’t provide specific examples of interference, saying it could compromise efforts to stop them. A second official on the call said the administration wouldn’t necessarily disclose all foreign influence efforts over concern doing so would hamper enforcement.

National: Security officials tracking 2020 election interference by Russia, China, and Iran | Rob Crilly/Washinton Examiner

Intelligence and law enforcement officials say they are tracking efforts by Russia, China, and Iran to influence voters ahead of the 2020 elections and do not believe hackers have been able to disrupt election infrastructure — so far. Government agencies are under intense pressure to avoid a repeat of 2016 amid the continuing fallout from Russian attempts to sway the outcome of the presidential election. Analysts warn that America’s election infrastructure needs an overhaul to prevent foreign interference while social media companies, such as Facebook, are under intense pressure to ensure that their platforms cannot be used to spread false or misleading information. Although intelligence agencies believe influence efforts were not responsible for President Trump’s shock win, this time around officials say they are tracking efforts that could affect the outcome.

National: Clemson professors warn Russian trolls coming for 2020 | Bristow Marchant/The State

Many Americans think they know what a Russian troll looks like. After the 2016 election, voters are more aware of bad actors on social media who might be trying to influence their opinion and their vote on behalf of a foreign government. But Clemson University professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren warn that picture may not be accurate. “People I know — smart, educated people — send me something all the time and say ‘Is this a Russian? Is this foreign disinformation?’” said Linvill, a communications professor at the Upstate university. “And it’s just someone saying something they disagree with. It’s just someone being racist. That’s not what disinformation looks like.” Linvill and Warren, who teaches economics, would know. The two compiled a database of roughly 3 million tweets identified as the products of Russian government-backed accounts both before and after the 2016 election. Now, the researchers say there are no signs Russia — and even other countries — have slowed their efforts to manipulate social media for their own ends, and are getting more sophisticated about how they use it.

National: US Public Might Not Be Told About Foreign Efforts to Alter Next Election | Jeff Seldin/VoA News

Senior U.S. officials say they are already busy buttressing the nation’s defenses against foreign interference for the 2020 presidential election. Only they admit the public may be kept in the dark about attacks and intrusions. Intelligence and election security officials have warned repeatedly that Russia, among other state and nonstate actors, remains intent on disrupting the upcoming elections and that the Kremlin may even have gone easy on the U.S. during the 2016 midterm elections, seeing the ability to impact the 2020 presidential race as the bigger prize. At the same time, election and security officials have come under increased scrutiny for failing to reveal the size and scope of Russia’s efforts to hack into voter databases and other critical systems. In April, special counsel Robert Mueller released his report into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as allegations of obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

National: House panel backs election security bill in wake of Russian interference in 2016 | Hailey Fuchs/The Washington Post

A House panel on Friday backed legislation to improve election security ahead of next year’s contests as Democrats press for shoring up the nation’s voting system after Russia interfered in the 2016 election. On a party-line vote of 6 to 3, the House Administration Committee endorsed the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019, whose provisions would include mandating paper ballots that could be verified, providing $600 million in grant money to update voting equipment and establishing cybersecurity requirements for elections. The full House is expected to consider the bill next week. However, the Senate is unlikely to act on the measure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposes such a measure, casting the legislation as unnecessary while pointing to the millions of Americans who voted in the 2018 midterm elections. Nevertheless, Democrats are pressing ahead in the House.

National: Group sues for records on US election hacking vulnerability | Tom Davies/Associated Press

A voting security advocacy group is trying to force a leader of a state election officials association to release documents on whether she wrongly asserted that U.S. election systems are safe from hacking. The National Election Defense Coalition filed a lawsuit Thursday against Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson alleging she’s violated state law in denying public record requests since September for her communications about election security with the National Association of Secretaries of State. Lawson was the bipartisan association’s 2017-18 president and is currently co-chair of its cybersecurity committee. The coalition argues that Lawson’s public statements have downplayed the vulnerability of election systems. It pointed to her testimony for a 2017 U.S. Senate intelligence committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election during which she said it was “very important to underscore that voting machines are not connected to the internet or networked in any way.”

National: GOP senators divided over approach to election security | Jordain Carney and Maggie Miller/The Hill

A renewed push to pass election security legislation ahead of the 2020 vote is putting a spotlight on divisions among key Republicans. GOP senators say they want to protect U.S. election infrastructure from a repeat of Russia’s 2016 meddling, but they are deeply split over how far the federal government should go to try to secure the ballot box and what, if any, new legislation that requires from Congress. On one side of the divide are Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who have backed passing additional legislation. On the other side are powerful figures including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who have signaled election security bills are going nowhere anytime soon in the Senate. Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 GOP senator, argued that while Republicans support secure elections, most of the caucus believes the issue has been handled by previous bills and state action.

National: Lawmakers spar at testy Mueller hearing | Morgan Chalfant/The Hill

A House Judiciary Committee hearing turned heated on Thursday as Republicans accused Democrats of wasting time examining special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference, with one GOP lawmaker labeling the hearing a “farce.” Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the hearing to get expert testimony on the first volume of Mueller’s report, which describes Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and catalogues well over 100 contacts between Moscow and members or associates of the Trump campaign. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) gave a sharp rebuke of the hearing during his questioning, suggesting Nadler was wasting time by inviting witnesses without any direct knowledge of the investigation. Gaetz asked Nadler whether he is going to subpoena Mueller, who has telegraphed a reluctance to testify publicly before Congress despite Democrats’ efforts to bring him in. “Chairman, are you going to subpoena Robert Mueller?” Gaetz asked. “I’m not going to answer that at this time,” Nadler replied.