Democrats have filed amendments calling to block funding, including from the defense budget, to block any agreement between President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin on a joint cybersecurity unit.
Senator Don Beyer from Virginia introduced the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Monday.
“Donald Trump’s proposal to form a ‘cyber security unit’ with Putin is a terrible idea that would immediately jeopardize American cybersecurity,” Beyer said. “Trump must acknowledge that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and take strong, meaningful action to prevent it from happening again in future elections.”
The amendment blocks all funding “authorized to be appropriated” by NDAA or “otherwise made available for fiscal year 2018 for the Department of Defense” to any Russia-US efforts on cybersecurity issues.
“None of the funds … may be obligated or expended to share intelligence, information, equipment, personnel, or facilities related to any cyber agreement entered into with Russia after December 31, 2016,” it states.
Two more democrats, Ruben Gallego, a senator from Arizona and Ted Lieu, who represents California’s 33rd congressional district, filed similar amendments to NDAA, calling to “confront Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
“It is completely inexplicable that the Administration is apparently planning to partner with Russia on a ‘new Cyber Security unit’,” the joint statement said.
The Putin-Trump discussion on cybersecurity has been a hot topic in the media since the presidents first met in person on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
On Saturday, Putin confirmed that he and Trump had shared their views on the issue, adding both had agreed to “create a working group and work together on how to jointly monitor security in cyberspace.”
Putin also confirmed that the accusations claiming Russia meddled in the US election had been addressed during his conversation with Trump. The Russian president reiterated that there is no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the US electoral process.
Trump tweeted on Sunday that he and Putin had discussed forming an impenetrable cybersecurity unit to prevent election hacking. However, later he almost reiterated from his comments after a backlash from Republican senators, who dubbed the plan “close to the dumbest idea.”
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
Republican senators lashed out at Trump for his teaming up with Putin on cybersecurity, calling the idea “close to the dumbest” and insisted the Russian president is behind the hacking.