Is the White House Hiding Secrets About Russia's Role in the Election?

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin Pavel Golovkin/AP

Seven senators have asked President Obama to declassify additional information about the Kremlin’s possible involvement.

A group of top senators is asking President Barack Obama to release more information about Russia’s involvement in the election, hinting that important details are being kept secret.

In a letter sent Tuesday and made public Wednesday, seven Democratic senators (including a Democrat-aligned Independent senator)—six members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one member of the Senate Armed Services Committee—wrote a two-sentence letter to the White House. It read, in its entirety:

We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels.

The letter was led by Ron Wyden, an outspoken Democratic senator from Oregon who has long been active on technology issues. The other five signatories from the Senate Intelligence Committee included Mark Warner, who will become the committee’s next vice chair. But the list of names had a glaring omission: Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s current vice chair, was the only Democratic committee member who didn’t sign the letter.

A spokesperson for Feinstein said she signed onto the classified correspondence the public letter referred to, even though her name didn’t appear on the open letter. The spokesperson did not elaborate on the discrepancy.

Just yesterday, the ranking member of the House oversight committee, Elijah Cummings, called for an investigation of Russia’s role in the U.S. election. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said she was in support of the investigation.

The claim that Russia attempted to meddle in the election has the weight of the intelligence community behind it. In October, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department announced they were “confident” the Russian government was behind intrusions into “U.S. political organizations,” likely referring to data breaches at the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Now that the election is over, it’s not clear what effect the release of concrete details about Russia’s involvement would have.