WASHINGTON — The Senate has removed a provision from the Intelligence Authorization Act that would have required presidential campaigns to disclose attempts or offers by foreign nationals to interfere in elections, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Tuesday, according to The Hill.
According to Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the "back-room deal" by Republicans and President Donald Trump was made to get the intelligence bill into the latest defense funding legislation which lawmakers said must pass.
CNN reports that earlier this month the committee narrowly approved the amendment from Warner and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. It required campaigns to tell both the FBI and the Federal Election Commission when there were offers of help from foreign sources.
The language, meant to boost election security and require presidential campaigns to report any attempts by foreign nationals to interfere in U.S. elections, has now been totally removed from the bipartisan bill in the Senate.
“In a different time, with a different president, this bill wouldn't be controversial at all. It would simply say, to all presidential campaigns going forward, if a foreign power reaches out to your campaign offering assistance or offering dirt on a political opponent, the appropriate response is not to say 'thank you.' The appropriate response is to call the FBI,” Warner said, according to The Hill.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community found that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election to sow chaos and also help Trump's campaign. Trump has cast doubt on those findings, in part claiming a conspiracy against him. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee found in April that the intelligence community's findings were sound.
Warner said he plans to propose the legislation as a separate amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act as a way to force Senate members to vote on the record about where they stand on U.S. election security.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.