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Key U.S. Senator Calls For Single Committee To Probe Russian Hacking

RFE/RL December 18, 2016

An influential Republican senator has called for a single, unified committee to investigate the depth of possible Russian hacking during the U.S. election campaign.

Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona) told CNN on December 18 that having multiple inquiries probing the alleged hacking would be inefficient. He called for a single, select committee comprised of both House and Senate members.

"This is serious business," he said.

McCain is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is set to begin investigating the extent of Russian hacking in January. Also taking up the probe will be the Senate's Intelligence and the Foreign Relations committees.

The Senate's leader, Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky), has dismissed calls for a select committee, which would underscore the seriousness of the allegations.

McCain's call was echoed by the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York), who said on December 18 that he, and two other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- Jack Reed (Democrat-Rhode Island) and Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) -- also supported the effort.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian government-backed hackers intruded into Democratic Party servers and e-mail accounts.

Later news reports said Republican servers had also been breached.

And last week, The Washington Post reported the FBI shared the CIA's conclusions that Russian hackers intervened to help Republican Donald Trump win the presidential election.

President Barack Obama has defended his administration's response to the alleged Russian hacking, including his refusal to ascribe motive to the meddling.

Obama told reporters on December 16 that he confronted Putin at a summit in China in September, telling the former KGB chief to "cut it out." Intelligence agencies then detected a halt in intrusions.

The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations.

Meanwhile, Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Pribus, pushed back on the growing consensus on Russian hacking. He said Democrats were using the allegations as a "spin job" to distract from the election outcome.

"I think what the Democrats ought to do is look in the mirror and face the reality that they lost the election," he told Fox News Sunday.

With reporting by CNN, Fox, and The Washington Post

Source: -russian-hacking-select- committee/28183193.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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