WILMINGTON, Del. — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined MSNBC Live to discuss foreign election interference and U.S.-Russia relations. His comments follow recent reports of ongoing Russian disinformation campaigns on social media to interfere in U.S. domestic politics.

[T]his is yet another instance of the Trump administration not believing, not relying on the intelligence community, and then not fully engaging in the sort of aggressive response against Russian interference in our domestic affairs that is called for, that is justified, that is warranted,” Senator Coons said of the reports. “I was upset and alarmed by reports just a few weeks ago that President Trump didn't even raise with Putin intelligence reports that they were offering bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. This suggestion that there's heightened Russian intelligence activity supporting a social media campaign that is an intentional effort to interfere in our election is just another reminder of why we need a president who will stand up to Putin.”

Senator Coons concluded, “I've been very disheartened by the refusal of the Republican majority in the Senate to stand up to President Trump to call him out on instances that implicate our democracy, our elections, and our national security.”

Full audio and video available here. A transcript is provided below. 

Q: Senator, I want to pick up on what you just heard from Ken Delanian. Do you think there's a coverup going on here? 

Sen. Coons: Well Chris, this is very concerning. It strongly suggests that this is yet another instance of the Trump administration not believing, not relying on the intelligence community, and then not fully engaging in the sort of aggressive response against Russian interference in our domestic affairs that is called for, that is justified, that is warranted. I was upset and alarmed by reports just a few weeks ago that President Trump didn't even raise with Putin intelligence reports that they were offering bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. This suggestion that there's heightened Russian intelligence activity supporting a social media campaign that is an intentional effort to interfere in our election is just another reminder of why we need a president who will stand up to Putin.

Q: As you well know, this report comes as there have been a series on attempts by Russia and other foreign actors to influence the November election. I just wonder, though, what can be done over the next 62 days, or I guess you would say potentially even less than 62 days since so many people are voting early. What can be done between now and the time people are casting their ballots? Or can anything be done?

Sen. Coons: Well, we've got career professionals at the FBI, at the NSA who work under the Director of National Intelligence who we have to hope and believe are going to do their duty by our nation. These efforts by the Trump Administration need to be called out. They need to be challenged and tested by members of the House and Senate. We have seen the Senate Intelligence Committee actually act in a bipartisan way on issues around Russian interference. So my hope is that that one functioning committee of the Senate will take this issue up as soon as we get back in next Tuesday. 

Q: What do you think the chances are that actually happens? 

Sen. Coons: I've been so disheartened50/50 at best. Chris, I've been very disheartened by the refusal of the Republican majority in the Senate to stand up to President Trump to call him out on instances that implicate our democracy, our elections, and our national security. 

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