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Bipartisan Effort Calls on Congress to Investigate Russian Election Hack

Bipartisan Effort Calls on Congress to Investigate Russian Election Hack


Democrats and Republicans are coming together to intiate an inquiry into Russia's cyberattacks.

A bipartisan group of Senators is calling on Congress to further investigate the conclusions of the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Central Intelligence Agency that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.

The letter, signed by Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, is urging Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell to form a select committee that will be charged with investigating reports that hackers accessed the private server of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American," the senators stated in a letter to McConnell released Sunday. "Cybersecurity is the ultimate cross-jurisdictional challenge, and we must take a comprehensive approach to meet this challenge effectively."

The Senators, which included the incoming Senate Minority Leader and a member of Armed Services Committee, urged that the proposed committee launch a "comprehensive investigation of Russian interference." They also called upon Congress, who lags behind on cybersecurity issues, to introduce "new legislation to modernize our nation's laws, governmental organization, and related practices to meet this challenge."

Throughout the 2016 race, private emails from the servers of Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, were aired to the public through WikiLeaks, the controversial watchdog group founded by Julian Assange These constant breaches repeatedly undermined the legitimacy and function of her campaign.

The FBI and CIA have come to agreement that the hacks were intended to get Donald Trump elected.

In a series of tweets, the president-elect has dismissed such speculation, however. Trump referred to reports that the Kremlin -- in a campaign that may have been personally supervised by Russian President Vladimir Putin -- influenced the election as "ridiculous." He believes this actionable intelligence from top officials is "just another excuse" from Democrats as to why their party lost on Election Day.

Reince Priebus, who has been tapped as Trump's Chief of Staff, also downplayed Russia's role in the election during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

"I mean, if there is this conclusive opinion among all of these intelligence agencies, then they should issue a report or they should stand in front of a camera and make the case," said Priebus, the former head of the Republican National Convention, adding: "I don't think they've been clear about it. I think that it's been all over the map."

McConnell has stated that if Russia interfered in the election, the Senator believes that it should be handled by the existing channels of Congress, including the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Both of these bodies are controlled by Republicans, meaning that any investigation is likely to get bogged down by the same partisan mindset that led to the months-long investigation of Clinton's role in Benghazi, even after the former Secretary of State was cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter. Following the inauguration, those committees will additionally be busy vetting Trump's Cabinet selections.

The letter states that given the gravity of the situation, the solution needs to be an across-the-aisle effort.

"We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner," the Senators wrote, "and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security."

In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union, McCain further claimed that U.S. democracy depends on Congress working together for comprehensive action.

"This is the sign of a possible unraveling of the world order that was established after World War II, which has made one of the most peaceful periods in the history of the world," McCain said. "We're starting to see the strains and the unraveling of it, and that is because of the absolute failure of American leadership."

"When America doesn't lead," he warned, "a lot of other bad people do."

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