Madam President, I rise today to discuss transparency in our democracy and security for our elections.
It has been nearly a week since Special Counsel Mueller's report was completed and submitted to the Attorney General of the United States. We still have not seen the report. I have urged the Department of Justice to release the report, and the administration should not delay in producing the report to Congress. We know the American people want to know what is in the report. According to some public opinion polls, nearly 90 percent of them have said they want to know what is in the report. We also know that 420 Members of the House of Representatives voted that the report should be made public. We cannot get ourselves out of the mode of remembering that a foreign power invaded our election. Some people call it meddling. That is what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she is doing. I call it an invasion of our democracy.
We have learned from the intelligence heads under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, including former Senator Coats, who told us that this has happened, and, in fact, the Russians are getting even bolder. That is what he told us. That is why I think it is very important, putting everything else aside, that we find out the facts in this report.
There have been indictments that have come out of this investigation--dozens of indictments. They made it clear that the unprecedented interference in the 2016 election was designed by the Kremlin with the goal of making Americans lose faith in our election system, whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent.
We know from the intelligence heads and from some of the indictments that have been made public that they did this in many ways. We have learned that the Russians tried to hack into the actual election equipment of 21 States and that in Illinois, they got as far as the voter files. What does that mean? If we could get more facts about that since that was actually--the hacking of the campaigns and elections was referenced in Attorney General Barr's four-page letter. Well, if we knew more facts, it might help Senator Lankford and me to pass our bill, the Secure Elections Act. We have the support of Senator Burr and Senator Warner, as well as Senator Harris and Senator Graham. Maybe it would help us convince the leader that we should have a vote on the simple concept of having backup paper ballots and audits. Maybe it would help us convince the public to put pressure on the White House not to block that bill. It doesn't matter what political party you are in--we all want to have secure elections. None of us want to have a situation where there is one county or one State in which elections get screwed up because someone hacked into them.
The other thing that we learned and got confirmed in the four-page letter was that we know there was hacking into a political campaign, right? Well, we want to know the facts about that. Again, as people have noticed, there are a lot of people running for office--not just for President but for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives--and certainly the American people and the people who work in the Congress have the right to know exactly what happened. That was one of the major reasons we had this investigation in the first place. There was something else that was mentioned in the four-page letter that we all want to have more details about; that is, another way Russia tried to influence our election was through the spread of false propaganda on the internet, right? We have now seen the ads. We have seen them in sworn hearings. One of the ones that I will never forget is one that was Russian sponsored, which was a picture of an African American woman, and it basically said--I am paraphrasing--``Why wait in line? You can text your vote for Hillary Clinton,'' with a texting number on it. That is a crime. That is illegal. That was one of the ads the Russians put into our system.
We know that they put false issue ads out there to divide Americans--sometimes from the left, trying to make it like they were looking from the left, and sometimes from the right. They were simply trying to sow discord in our great democracy.
Our democracy is fragile. Our democracy is something that we cherish. Our democracy must be protected. That is why, if we could get this full report, that would help us greatly to perhaps step back and look at the Honest Ads Act. That is a bill which I had with Senator McCain and Senator Warner, and we have a number of Republicans who are actually cosponsoring it in the House of Representatives. I think getting more details here would help to make the case that before the 2020 election--we know that in 2016 alone, $1.4 billion was spent on internet advertising, on social media platforms, such at Facebook and Twitter, and we didn't know who was paying for it. We later found out that some of it was in rubles. How obvious can you get? And then also we didn't even know what the ads were because they just vanished from the internet.
So when we first proposed this bill, people said: Oh, you are trying to regulate. Well, guess what. Things changed after Cambridge Analytica, and we suddenly got growing support for this idea that the same rules that apply to newspaper and TV and radio should apply to internet platforms. Now, a number of the major platforms are doing it themselves, although they vary in what they do and it is a patchwork. Also, major CEOs of these companies are saying they now support this bill.
The time has come--in fact, we are running out of time--to put the rules in place on issue ads and candidate ads. I believe it is not just selfishly what I want to get done; it is something that a lot of people in this Chamber want to get done, and that is, making sure our next election is protected from foreign influence on the propaganda side, on the election security side, and on the hacking side. Getting the full report will help us make the case. It will help us figure out exactly what happened.
As I mentioned, there are many people--420 in the House of Representatives--who said they want to see it. Congress should be able to see the full, unredacted report without delay. We are a coequal branch of government and have received unredacted grand jury and classified information in the past. But more than Congress, the public should be able to see this. That is why the House voted 420 to 0--we don't get that kind of vote on a volleyball resolution--in support of publicly releasing the report. Members standing in the way of this report becoming public will have to explain why to the American people.
We know we can do two things at once in this Chamber or maybe 20 things at once. We know the importance right now of making sure we don't repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is why 2 nights ago I was here at this very desk until late at night reading 100 letters from people who opposed repealing the Affordable Care Act because of the protection it gives them to not get kicked off their health insurance. We know how important it is to finally do something about prescription drugs. We know how important it is to work on advancing an optimistic economic agenda for the people of this country. At the same time, we also have to protect the public's right to know. We have to protect the security in many ways--security of our country abroad, our military--and make sure we are protecting the very democracy that is at the core of this country. The way to do that is to make sure no foreign power messes with our election.
There are hundreds of pages in this report. There are hundreds of people who were interviewed. All of us are a little in the dark, especially those people who are not on the committees that receive classified information. There are many people who would like to know exactly what went down. If I were the secretary of state in one of our States, whether it be the State of Arkansas or the State of Arizona, I would want to know what happened because I, if I am the secretary of state, am responsible for my State's election security. We urge the Attorney General to do everything he can to make this report public. Now that the special counsel has completed his investigation, we must see the report.
I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H. Con. Res. 24, expressing the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel Mueller should be made available to the public and to Congress, which is at the desk; further, that the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.