- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2016

Senate lawmakers reiterated concerns this week involving Russia’s purported meddling in the recent White House race nearly two months after the Obama administration publicly accused the Kremlin of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged leadership Thursday to hold a hearing on Russia’s alleged election meddling, one day after a bipartisan group of eight senators led by Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, wrote the White House urging for the declassification of specific but unstated details concerning Moscow and the Nov. 8 general election.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Oct. 7 that it was confident the Russian government had directed computer intrusions and email leaks suffered by organizations and individuals affiliated with American political organizations during the White House race.

Republican candidate Donald Trump was ultimately elected president nearly one month later and is slated to take the oath of office on Jan. 20. Despite his imminent inauguration, however, lawmakers from either side of the aisle this week indicated that Russia’s purported role in the election process ought to be brought to light.

“We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels,” reads the letter sent Wednesday to the White House.

A ninth senator, Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, signed her name to a classified version of the letter sent to Mr. Obama, Reuters reported Thursday. Ms. Feinstein, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in October that she believed the Russian government was “attempting to interfere in our election with the goal of electing Donald Trump.”

Ms. Shaheen renewed a call of her own Thursday when she implored the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to conduct a hearing on the foreign policy implications of Russia’s alleged election meddling.

Ms. Shaheen, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security, previously proposed holding a hearing on the topic in September before the U.S. intelligence community publicly accused Kremlin of interfering in the election process.

“Recent independent analysis has also drawn attention to concerted Russian efforts to promote so-called ‘fake news’ relevant to the presidential race in the run up to the election,” she wrote in Thursday’s letter to Chairman Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the panel’s ranking Democrat.

“These Russian actions are unprecedented in our post-Cold War relationship and have rightfully drawn bipartisan condemnation and prompted bipartisan calls for Congressional hearings. The seriousness of Russia’s behavior and its relevance to the Foreign Relations Committee merit a full committee hearing on this issue, perhaps supplemented by a classified briefing,” she wrote, adding that holding such a hearing “would benefit both the members of the committee and the constituents they represent as we collectively consider how best to respond to these unacceptable violations of our democracy.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied interfering in the recent White House race, despite a body of digital evidence linking Kremlin-tied hacking groups to campaigns waged against the Democratic National Committee and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.


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