A House Democrat introduced a measure Monday intended to block a potential cyber working group with Russia that was proposed at President Donald Trump’s meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The amendment to a massive Defense bill from Virginia Democrat Rep. Don Beyer would bar any Pentagon funds from being used to “share intelligence, information, equipment, personnel or facilities” related to any US cyber agreement with Russia.
The amendments could make for difficult votes for Republicans, but it’s also likely many of the politically sensitive proposals will never get to the House floor for a vote.
A cyber working group was one of the items that Trump touted following his meeting with Putin, which he later described as “an impenetrable Cyber Security Unit.”
“Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded … and safe,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
But by Sunday evening, Trump appeared to back away from the idea amid criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
“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!” Trump tweeted, in reference also to the fighting in Syria.
Vice President Mike Pence said Monday it likely won’t go anywhere.
Trump “made it very clear last night that it probably isn’t going to work out,” Pence said on the Laura Ingraham radio show.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, on Sunday ridiculed the idea of teaming up with Russia on cyber issues after Moscow interfered in the 2016 US election.
“I am sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort, since he’s doing the hacking,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, also slammed the idea coming out of what he described as a “disastrous” meeting with Putin.
“It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The cyber amendment is one of hundreds being filed this to the House’s National Defense Authorization Act, a “must-pass” defense policy bill that’s been signed into law for 55 straight years.
Democrats are using the bill to target Trump on Russia and a number of other fronts.
In addition to Beyer’s proposal, Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona has submitted an amendment for Congress to endorse the conclusions of the January intelligence community report concluding that Russia meddled in the US election.
Trump has continued to doubt the intelligence community’s conclusions, including in Poland last week, when he said: “Well I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people and other countries.”
The House rules committee determines which of the hundreds of amendments go to the floor, and it has frequently tossed aside what it considers politically motivated amendments on the defense authorization bill.