Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn blocked the effort of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner to pass a bill that would require campaigns to report any offers of foreign assistance to the FBI.
Blackburn claimed to block this bill on the grounds that it was too unspecific and would force presidential campaigns to have an inconvenient level of disclosure with the public.
“We are all for free and fair and honest elections. … These reporting requirements are overbroad,” Blackburn said. “Presidential campaigns would have to worry about disclosure at a variety of levels. So many different levels. Consider this: vendors that work for a campaign, people that are supplying some kind of voter service to a campaign. … It would apply to door knockers, it would apply to phone bankers, down to any person who shares their views with a candidate.”
Warner replied that Blackburn was misunderstanding his legislation, saying that the bill was specific in the terms of what would need to be reported. “The only thing that would have to be reported is if the agent of a foreign government or national offered that something that was already prohibited,” he said.
This bill was created in response to Trump’s comments on Wednesday regarding his willingness to accept intelligence on political opponents from foreign entities during his 2020 campaign. During an interview on ABC News, he made this statement, which some are considering grounds for impeachment:
“If somebody called from a country… [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent,’ it’s not an interference, they have information, I think I’d take it.”
Many Democrats feel that he is welcoming foreign interference in the 2020 election. Some have called his comments “anti-American” and believe they are grounds for impeachment. On the Senate floor, Warner responded to Blackburn’s objection:
“How disgraceful it is that our Republican friends cower before this president when they know that the things he does severely damage democracy.”
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that American’s should “be appalled” by his comments, she skirted the question of impeachment.
“What we want to do is have a methodical approach to the path we’re on and this will be included in that. But not any one issue is going to trigger, oh now we’re going to go do this,” Pelosi said.
At present, 63 members of the House publicly support launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump. 218 are needed to proceed.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr