Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Tuesday that he does not believe the US government "is doing enough" to counter Russian interference in US elections.
"I don't think the US government is doing enough," the Maryland Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" in response to a question about whether Facebook has taken adequate steps to fight Russian interference.
Van Hollen indicated that he believes Facebook, unlike the US government, has taken appropriate measures. "I think Facebook is," he said, "they're trying to get in front of this."
CNN reported earlier Tuesday that Facebook has taken down a network of suspected Russian-linked accounts and pages involved in organizing political events in the US.
Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, recently warned that Russian efforts to undermine American democracy are "ongoing" and "pervasive."
That warning from the US intelligence chief came after President Donald Trump declined to endorse the conclusion of the intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Facing a backlash, the President later said that he misspoke during the press conference.
Van Hollen argued Tuesday that the Trump administration can't be relied upon to safeguard US elections from future Russian interference.
"We have to take every action to protect our democracy. The Trump administration is not doing enough," he said, adding, "the Senate has to act."
The Democratic senator urged support for legislation he has introduced along with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio that would impose sanctions on Russia if the US determines that the Kremlin has interfered in an American election.
The legislation "would tell Putin if he gets caught interfering in the 2018 elections, or elections going forward, he will face immediate, harsh penalties," Van Hollen said.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
- Facebook: Russia possibly behind fake profiles
- Facebook: Russia could be behind new fake pages
- Facebook suspends personal profile of InfoWars founder Alex Jones
- Facebook modifies the way it alerts users to fake news
- The biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is fake
- Facebook takes down fake accounts over Russian troll farm concerns
- Man discovers fake lottery
- Russia has a curious love-hate relationship with Facebook
- US and Russia 'exploring' possible Trump-Putin meeting
- Arms, oil and fake news: 6 ways Russia is changing the world