The outgoing administration of President Barack Obama has already taken steps to censure the alleged hack of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, an occurrence Donald Trump finally acknowledged during Wednesday press conference. As for the leaked dossier suggesting a far more sinister connection between the president-elect’s campaign and Russia, however, officials have remained largely silent regarding the matter aside from acknowledging the document’s existence. Yet according to a new joint statement issued by the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that’s about to change.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), the committee chairman and vice chairman respectively, said “the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election also will focus on Russian cyberactivity and ‘active measures’ against the U.S.”
Burr and Warner said the committee will hold hearings examining Russian intelligence activity and interview senior officials within both President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump’s administrations about the matter, and will issue subpoenas if necessary.
“We believe that it is critical to have a full understanding of the scope of Russian intelligence activities impacting the United States,” they said.
That Burr and Warner joined together to issue their statement is telling, CNN notes, as the bipartisan initiative suggests the severity with which Congress is treating the matter. After all, a recent report revealed U.S. intelligence officials were advising Israel not to share information with the Trump team for fear of leaks, while the president-elect’s CIA director pick admitted during his Senate confirmation hearing that he thought the information regarding Russia’s interference with the election was “sound.”
Yet as Politico suggests, the Senate probe puts it at odds with the House, which currently has no plans to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. As Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California), the House intelligence panel chairman and a member of the Trump transition team, told them earlier on Friday, “House committees don’t go operational like that, that I know of” since the matter is “a law enforcement issue.” Following Burr and Warner’s joint statement, Nunes’ office told Politico he hadn’t changed his mind.