Toomey Backs Senate Plan to Investigate Alleged Russian Hack

The Senate announced that it will look into reported Russian interference in the U.S. election. Meanwhile, Bob Casey calls for additional inquiries.

Both Pennsylvania senators have called for an investigation into possible Russian interference in the presidential election last month.

Republican Pat Toomey, who himself won re-election to the Senate over challenger Katie McGinty in November, tweeted that he wants a “vigorous” investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee into allegations of email hacking by Russia.

“That bipartisan panel can get to the bottom of what the Russians did or did not do,” Toomey wrote. “If the Russian government or its agents engaged in an effort to meddle in the U.S. election, they need to face serious consequences.” Last week, the CIA reportedly told lawmakers that Russian agencies had intervened in the election with the intention of helping Donald Trump get elected.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a Senate intelligence panel would investigate. “The Russians are not our friends,” he said at a news conference. He insisted the investigation would follow “regular order.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is in charge of the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community. It consists of eight Republicans, six Democrats and independent Maine senator Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats.

Earlier today, Bob Casey and eight other Democratic senators sent letters to both Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calling for a National Intelligence Estimate into how much Russia influenced the U.S. presidential election, and for a summary to be unclassified by inauguration day.

“Direct and deliberate interference in our election is an unprecedented breach and threat to U.S. democracy and national security — it is absolutely critical that information about these matters be disclosed to the public and to Congress,” Casey and other senators wrote. “We strongly support calls for bipartisan investigations by Congress — this issue requires the full attention of the executive and legislative branches alike, and a conclusive, public national intelligence estimate will lay out the facts for the American people.”

Republicans, despite agreeing to the investigation, issued charges of partisan politics. “Exploiting the work of our intelligence community for partisan purposes does a grave disservice to those professional and potentially jeopardizes national security,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “As we work to protect our democracy from foreign influence, we should not cast doubt on the clear and decisive outcome of this election.”

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