|Senate Majority Leader Supports Congressional Investigation Into Russia's Involvement in Presidential Election|
|keywords: Congress Presidential Election Russian interference|
Joining with a growing number of Senate Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced his support for a congressional investigation into the potential Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. However, McConnell has rejected a proposal to form a special committee for the investigation, stating that duty belongs primarily to the Senate Intelligence Committee under the leadership of its chairman, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).
On Monday, December 11, McConnell addressed news reporters at a Capitol Hill press conference. The Majority Leader noted that while he "strongly condemn[s]" any foreign interference and cyber security breaches, the Senate Intelligence Committee "is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter." McConnell also noted that the Senate Armed Services Committee, under Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), will also be involved in the investigation to specifically review the cyber attacks and their threats. McConnell was clear in emphasizing that an overall Senate review would be "bipartisan."
The Senate Majority Leader's statements come after an unusual statement issued on Sunday by a bipartisan association of four well-regarded senators, including Senator McCain. In the statement, McCain, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Jack Reed called for a complete review and investigation of the role that Russia played in the 2016 presidential election, emphasizing that "Democrats and Republicans must work together...to examine these recent incidents thoroughly." Following this joint statement, Senator McCain appeared on the Sunday morning news circuit to highlight his belief that a select committee should be formed to lead the investigation.
So far, McConnell and other Senate Republicans including McCain have been careful to avoid speculation on how much Russia was able to influence the election and if the foreign power was intending to help President-Elect Donald Trump win the election. On Monday, Senator McCain specifically stated that he "can't reach [the] conclusion" that Russia intended to aid Trump's win.
On the other hand, some Democrats in the Senate have been more willing to theorize about Russia's motivations. Departing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been vocal in his accusations that Russia was intending to help Trump's campaign, going so far as to say that "there were reports that people in the campaign for Donald Trump were in touch with the Russians."
For his part, President-Elect Trump has not directly addressed McConnell's backing of a congressional investigation. Trump spokesperson Jason Miller simply stated that allegations of Russian interference were a media-led "attempt to try to delegitimize" Trump's win.
Source: Lesley F
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