President Donald Trump has one idea to blunt the impact of Russian meddling in U.S. elections: “It’s called paper.” “One of the things we’re learning is, it’s always good — It’s old-fashioned — but it’s always good to have a paper back-up system of voting,” the president said Tuesday during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. “It’s called paper. Not highly complex computers, paper. A lot of states are doing that. They’re going to a paper back-up. And I think that’s a great idea. We’re studying it closely. Various agencies, including homeland security, are studying it very carefully.” Trump, who has acknowledged Russia meddled in the 2016 election but has said his team was not involved in the effort, has been adamant that Russia had “no impact” on votes. He told reporters Tuesday that other countries “probably” were involved in presidential-election meddling as well.
“The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever. But certainly there was meddling, and probably there was meddling from other countries, maybe other individuals,” he said. “We won’t allow that to happen. We’re doing a very, very deep study and coming out with very strong suggestions on the ’18 election. I think we will do very well in the ’18 election.”
The president has blamed numerous parties for the Russian influence on U.S. campaigns, especially his predecessor, Barack Obama. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the U.S. would announce new Russia sanctions soon, saying the chances of meddling in the 2018 midterm elections were “highly likely.”
“We have not seen evidence of a robust effort yet on the part of Russia, but we know their malign activities continue to exist,” Coats said during a Senate hearing. “It’s highly likely that they will be doing something. We just don’t know how much and when and where.”