Rep. Eric Swalwell said he found former special counsel Robert Mueller’s comments Wednesday about election security during his congressional testimony “hair-raising,” cautioning that “future elections are at stake.”
“It’s pretty hair-raising,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“And whether you are a Republican defending the President or Democrat wanting this President to be held accountable, we should be worried that in future elections, whether it’s Russia or other countries who have similar capability, that this could create a mess of our democracy.”
“I don’t know how many elections we can weather something like this,” he added.
Mueller had appeared before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees to discuss his report on Russian interference in the 2016 US election, released in April. While he largely refused to engage in pointed questions from lawmakers, Mueller’s comments on US election security marked a rare moment of emphasis from the former FBI director.
“Oh, it wasn’t a single attempt,” Mueller said when asked whether Russia would attempt to interfere in more US elections. “They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
Mueller said “many” more countries are developing the capabilities “to replicate what the Russians have done.”
Swalwell, who questioned Mueller twice Wednesday because he sits on both House committees, said Mueller’s comments underline the reason the California Democrat is pursuing election security legislation.
“I would like to see more Republicans join that, because let’s put aside what happened in the last election and recognize future elections are at stake,” he said.
And while he recently ended his presidential bid after failing to gain traction, Swalwell added that his time on the campaign trail showed him that election security is a top concern for voters.
“Americans care about health care. Americans care about student loan debt and gun violence,” he said. “But a number of people told me, ‘You know what? I hate when Washington says that people outside Washington don’t care about what the Russians did.’ “