“While President Trump stands practically idle, Mr. Putin continues to refine his asymmetric arsenal and look for future opportunities to disrupt governance and erode support for the democratic and international institutions,” he said.
American spy agencies have concluded that Mr. Putin directed a multifaceted campaign using hacking and propaganda to try to sway the 2016 presidential election against Mr. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and, eventually, in favor of his campaign.
Mr. Trump’s response to those findings has varied. After Congress overwhelmingly passed new sanctions in August retaliating against Russia over a range of issues including the election interference, Mr. Trump was forced to sign the measure into law in spite of his own objections. In November, after speaking with Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump said he believed that the Russian leader was sincere in his denials of interfering with the 2016 race.
On Wednesday, he insisted that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians and described investigations studying the issue as “ the single greatest Witch Hunt in American history” invented by the Democrats. “Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing,” he wrote on Twitter.
He also taunted Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, as “Sneaky” for unilaterally releasing the transcript of the committee’s investigative interview with one of the founders of the firm that produced a salacious and largely unsubstantiated dossier outlining a Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign. He called her action “underhanded,” “possibly illegal” and a “disgrace.”
The new report released by Mr. Cardin does not seek to answer questions about that campaign, which is being studied closely by several congressional committees and a Justice Department special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, but tries to put it into context. The authors argue that merely investigating the 2016 effort will be insufficient to protecting against future attacks, given the versatility and persistence of Mr. Putin’s tool kit.
Over all, the report argues that Mr. Putin’s rise and hold on power in Russia has depended on the use of force and the undermining of institutions at home and abroad. It points to successful actions taken by European nations, including Germany and Nordic countries, as models for counteracting Russian tools like disinformation and hacking.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have redoubled their efforts to draw attention to broad issues of election security and what they characterize as dangerous inaction by Republicans, who control all levels of government in Washington before this year’s midterms.
Six senior House Democrats from key committees wrote to Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday to accuse Republicans of putting Mr. Trump “ahead of our national interests” and to urge them to double down on the issue.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the panels investigating the 2016 campaign, plans to release its bipartisan report on election security in the coming weeks. The committee’s investigation of what role, if any, Mr. Trump’s campaign played in the Russian effort continues, but its top members have said they felt an urgency to provide at least preliminary findings that could make a difference in political races across the country.
Some of the recommendations in Wednesday’s report mirror legislative proposals by members of both parties. Those proposals have gained little traction on Capitol Hill, and authors of those reports conceded that without backing from Mr. Trump and his party, few of the measures they outlined stood a chance of being realized.