A probe into alleged Russian cyber threats against U.S. military and interference in U.S. elections is getting set to launch, but not by the expected Party.
Leading Senate Republicans are ready to commence a wide-ranging probe of Russia, setting up a direct confrontation with President-elect Donald Trump, according to The Washington Post.
Trump has downplayed the possibility of Russian involvement with the November elections and called for the U.S. to get along with the nation. But Republicans on Capitol Hill disagree.
According to the Post:
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (Ariz.) is readying a probe of possible Russian cyber-incursions into U.S. weapons systems, and he said he has been discussing the issue with Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.), with whom he will be “working closely” to investigate Russia’s suspected interference in the U.S. elections and cyber threats to the military and other institutions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been apprised of the discussions. Burr did not respond to requests for comment.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also said he intends to hold hearings next year into alleged Russian hacking. Corker is on Trump’s shortlist for secretary of state, according to the Trump transition team.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have been openly critical of Trump and his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Armed Services Committee will launch a congressional probe into Russia’s cyber-capabilities against the U.S. military and weapons systems, “because the real threat is cyber,” McCain said, according to the Post.
McCain believes that “there’s very little doubt” Russia interfered in the U.S. elections.
“See, the problem with hacking is that if they’re able to disrupt elections, then it’s a national security issue, obviously,” he said.
Trump disagreed with President Obama’s claims that Russia interfered in the election. The White House officially accused Russia in October of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the presidential campaign.
“I don’t believe they interfered,” Trump said in a Time magazine interview published this week. “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey. I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.”
Democrats have lost patience with the GOP for not acting more quickly and decisively against Russia, and plan to keep doing what they can to keep attention on the issue, the Post reported.
“Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, Russia’s attacks on our election are an attempt to degrade our democracy and should chill every American — Democratic, Republican, or Independent — to the core,” Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee, said.
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