After Monday’s closing arguments, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell spoke on the Senate floor, pointing to the importance of maintaining public trust in free and fair elections. Cantwell said President Trump’s actions undermined that trust, and therefore U.S. democracy.
“Election interference is the issue of our day. It’s not because we just spent 11 days talking about it and what might have happened in the Oval Office about interference in the upcoming 2020 election. It is the issue of our day because we live in an information age, and weaponizing misinformation has become a lethal campaign tool,” Cantwell said.
She continued her prepared, 10-minute speech:
“We must fight back against Russia or anyone who interferes in our elections. Protecting our elections should be a bipartisan effort, and we should listen to what the intelligence community says, because they’re warning us now that Russia will interfere again in the 2020 elections,” Cantwell said.
“Seeking, requesting and accepting interference in a U.S. campaign is wrong. It’s not inappropriate, it’s not just improper. It is illegal. By calling it improper, or turning a blind eye in this case, is enabling more election interference,” Cantwell said.
Her remarks came as Trump’s impeachment trial speeds toward its conclusion, with senators scheduled for a final vote on Wednesday. Both Cantwell and Washington’s other senator, Democrat Patty Murray, have said that they will vote for the president’s conviction and removal. However, Trump appears to have a comfortable majority for acquittal in the Republican-dominated Senate.