Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has called for a full congressional investigation into Russia’s involvement in the U.S. presidential election, according to PoliticusUSA. Schumer is the incoming leader of the Democrats in the Senate. The senior senator from New York wants a bipartisan investigation after the CIA concluded that Russia conspired to get Donald Trump elected, Politico reports.
“Senate Democrats will join with our Republican colleagues next year to demand a congressional investigation and hearings to get to the bottom of this,” Schumer said. “It’s imperative that our intelligence community turns over any relevant information so that Congress can conduct a full investigation.”
“The silence from Wikileaks and others since election day has been deafening. That any country could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core.”
The CIA concluded that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to Wikileaks in order to damage to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Republican Donald Trump win the election. Russian-backed actors also hacked the Republican National Committee, but did not release anything from their hack of the GOP.
The Washington Post first reported the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the election to help get Trump elected. The Trump transition team issued a short statement questioning the CIA’s conclusion, Fox 61 reported.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s team said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”
President Barack Obama called for a full investigation into Russia and the presidential election on Friday. Schumer wants Congress to begin a formal investigation into Russia’s interference on behalf of Donald Trump on January 3, when the House and Senate return to work.
Schumer wants a bipartisan investigation into the alleged Russian hacking, though it is uncertain whether Republicans in Congress will cooperate. Senator John McCain has said he will investigate Russia’s involvement in the election. McCain was critical of Donald Trump during the campaign, but he is convinced Russia intervened.
“They hacked into my campaign in …. 2008. Should that be a surprise to anyone?” McCain said. The Arizona senator said that everyone knew Russia was involved, though he did not mention Donald Trump by name. McCain also allowed that the CIA could be wrong. “The CIA has not always been exactly right, to say the least.”
During the election campaign, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies claimed that Russia was responsible for the DNC hack and the leak of emails from Clinton campaign aide John Podesta. Donald Trump claimed that nobody knew who was responsible for the hack and denied that Russia was behind it. He also claimed that China or random hackers in their bedrooms could have leaked the emails.
Senior members of Congress were briefed about Russian interference in the election, including Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and outgoing Democratic Minority Harry Reid. This secret CIA briefing took place in September, two months before the election. McConnell was skeptical of Russian involvement and did not want the story to go public, according to The Washington Post.
Donald Trump and his allies have denied the CIA’s conclusions are correct. Trump’s team does not believe Russia hacked into the Republican National Committee or that Russia helped Trump win the election. Trump struck a conciliatory tone with Russia during his campaign and praised Vladimir Putin. Russia’s president has recently praised Trump and said he wants a better relationship with the U.S. when Trump is president.
Chuck Schumer will try to organize a formal investigation when the new Congress meets in January. The CIA has already concluded that Russia meddled in the election to help Donald Trump become president. Any congressional investigation would have to be bipartisan to have credibility but with Trump’s allies denying Russia played a role in the election, Schumer may find it difficult to launch a full investigation.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]