Society

Senate Launches Russian Election Interference Investigation

| by Robert Fowler

On Feb. 2, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism announced a probe into the Russian government's alleged role in subverting the 2016 presidential election. It will be the second Senate investigation into the Kremlin's interference in the election.

The probe aims to investigate the full extent of Russia's interference and to determine ways to bolster protections for American democracy in future elections.

The consensus of the U.S. intelligence committee is that the Kremlin hacked and leaked documents from both the Democratic National Committee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign in order to maximize negative media coverage of the Democratic nominee, according to The Hill.

The committee will be chaired by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island will serve as the ranking member.

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"Our goal is simple -- to the fullest extent possible, we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy," Graham and Sheldon announced in a joint statement, according to the Washington Examiner.

"While some of our efforts will have to be held behind closed doors due to security concerns, we also hope to have an open discussion before the American people about Russia's strategies to undermine democracy," the statement added. "Our efforts will be guided by the belief that we have an obligation to follow the facts wherever they may lead."

Graham and Whitehouse have listed four primary goals for the investigation: understand the U.S. intelligence community's findings on Russia's role in the election, determine what methods the Kremlin used, find ways to prevent future interference, and provide the FBI with a platform to investigate similar matters without partisan influence.

On Jan. 13, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced its own investigation into Russia's role in the presidential election. That probe is chaired by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina with Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia serving as its ranking member.

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The committee asserted that it would investigate Russia's interference in the election to the fullest extent and "follow the intelligence wherever it leads."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed the U.S. intelligence community's consensus on Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Jan. 11, he stated that he believed Russia had committed hacks.

"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia," Trump said, according to The New York Times. The president followed up by asserting "it could have been others also."

Sources: The Hill (2), The New York TimesWashington Examiner / Photo Credit: Jim Mattis/Flickr

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