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Schumer, McCain request bipartisan probe into Russian hack

Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses an intelligence assessment that

Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses an intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the presidential election during a news conference at his Manhattan office on Dec. 11, 2016. The New York Democrat and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are calling for a congressional investigation into the alleged interference. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Republican Sen. John McCain, sent a letter Sunday to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting a special committee to probe reported Russian interference into the November presidential election.

“Cybersecurity is the ultimate cross-jurisdictional challenge,” the letter states. It also says the “select committee on cyber” should make recommendations on “new legislation to modernize our nation’s laws, governmental organization, and related practices to meet this challenge.”

Also on Sunday, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) called for an investigation into whether and why CIA director John Brennan leaked information on Russian hacking to members of the media. King has said the House Intelligence Committee has not learned that Russian officials sought to help Donald Trump win the election, only that they wanted to interfere with the race.

“There should be an investigation of what the Russians did, but also John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect,” King said on ABC’s “This Week.”

David Popp, spokesman for McConnell (R-Ky.), said the senator will review the letter and noted the senator said last week he supports a bipartisan inquiry into any Russian meddling. The letter was sent by Schumer (D-N.Y.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.).

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, said “Russians were trying to elect a lap dog” by backing Trump through the series of cyberhacks.

“I think the Russians clearly intervened in the election and I think that . . . now we know that both the CIA, the director of national intelligence, the FBI all agree that the Russians intervened to help Trump and that — as they have noted this week, NBC first revealed — that Vladimir Putin was personally involved with that,” Podesta said.

Russian diplomats said they were talking to the Trump campaign and Trump surrogates said in August that they were in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Podesta said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Trump was still waiting for a uniform response from intelligence officials regarding Russia’s involvement in hacking U.S. officials, though he does not think the hacks affected the outcome of the election.

“I think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, show the American people that they’re actually on the same page,” Priebus said. “Let’s assume it’s true. There’s no evidence that shows that the outcome of the election was changed because of a couple dozen John Podesta emails that were out there.”

Podesta said he was only contacted by the FBI two days after his emails appeared on WikiLeaks on Oct. 7. He has not had any further contact with the FBI, he said.

With Alison Fox

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