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Senate Judiciary Panel Puts Stake in Russia Hacking Investigation

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. // Evan Vucci/AP

A Senate Judiciary Committee panel on crime and terrorism will investigate the Russian influence operation to undermine the 2016 election as well as similar operations in European nations, the subcommittee’s leaders announced Thursday.

The subcommittee will join other Senate committees looking at Russian hacking, most importantly, the Intelligence and Armed Services committees.

Republican House leaders, by contrast, have limited that chamber’s investigations to the normal work of the House Intelligence Committee to the consternation of House Democrats.

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The Senate Judiciary subcommittee’s investigation will focus on understanding U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that top levels of the Russian government tried to undermine the U.S. election and the methods Russia used during that influence operation and others, according to a joint statement from the panel’s Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and ranking member Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Graham has been an outspoken advocate for an exhaustive congressional investigation into the election season hacks along with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz.

The investigation will also explore “possible avenues to help prevent and deter future foreign influences from impacting American elections and institutions” and ways Congress can ensure the FBI has “the tools it needs to keep its investigative work protected from political influence,” according to the statement.

“Our goal is simple—to the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy,” the senators said in a statement.

Some of the subcommittee's work will be done in a classified setting, but large portions will be public, the senators said. 

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