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GOP Lawmaker Joins Democrats On Bill To Probe Russia

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A Republican member of Congress has joined the Democratic effort to find out if Russian interference is to blame for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's unexpected 2016 election loss to President Donald Trump.

Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina became the first Republican co-sponsor of the proposed Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would create an 18-month, 12-member independent investigation into whether Russia had any involvement in the 2016 election, according to The Hill.

"Congressman Jones is brave enough to do the right thing," said Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who introduced the bill with Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

Although Jones is the first Republican member of Congress to officially endorse an investigation into whether Russia played a role in Clinton's loss, Republican senators have endorsed an inquiry, too.

"We are aggressively going to continue the oversight responsibilities of the committee as it relates to not only the Russian involvement in the 2016 election, but again any contacts by any campaign individuals that might have happened with Russian government officials," said Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the intelligence panel, according to The Washington Post.

Rumors that Trump's campaign was boosted by Russian intelligence officials have been an ongoing story since the Democratic National Committee's server was hacked and embarrassing emails were leaked to WikiLeaks.

Those rumors intensified after anonymous U.S. intelligence sources told The New York Times that unnamed people in Trump's campaign spoke to unnamed people in Russia before and after the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has denounced the claims he won with help from Russia.

"The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306)," Trump tweeted, referring to the number of Electoral College votes he won. "So they made up a story - RUSSIA. Fake news!"

Sources: The Hill, The Washington Post, Donald J. Trump/Twitter / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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