U.S. Senate launches public hearings on Russian’s alleged meddling in 2016 U.S. presidential election
The bipartisan leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee – Republican Chairman Sen, Richard Burr and Democratic Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner announced a joint probe. Photo by Reuters
The prominent Republican and Democratic Senators claimed they would jointly probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
On 30 March, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee launched the first public hearing in the ongoing investigation. Richard Burr, the Intelligence Committee Chairman, stated that they would avoid politicizing the process so as to find out the answer to a major question:
As Burr reported, the Committee had already contacted 20 individuals and requested them to give testimonies, including Jured Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.
The investigation seeks to answer the questions as follows:
• Was Russia’s cyber activity aimed against the USA and its allies?
• Did those actions include contacts between Russia and individuals linked to political campaigns or any other U.S. citizens?
• What was the U.S. government’s reaction and what should be done to protect the USA and its allies against it in the future?
• What classified information could be leaked?
A similar inquiry, conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives had earlier been hampered due to differences between the Republican and Democratic parties.
U.S. Intelligence officials believe Russia sought to help Trump win the presidential race by discrediting Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton and her party through the attacks. Those accusations led to ousting 35 Russian diplomats from the USA by the former U.S. Administration.
Meanwhile, Russian leadership denies alleged attempts to influence the results of U.S. presidential election.
President Trump also denied reports about his team members allegedly having ties with Moscow. “They don’t know anything about it. They haven’t travelled to Russia. They haven’t called anyone in Russia, neither have they received any phone calls from there. All that is a fake news,” President Trump stated in mid-February.
However, 2 high-ranking U.S. government officials have already become the victims of Russian-related scandals. Michael Flinn, Donald Trump’s national security advisor, had to resign in February after admitting that he had provided incomplete information about his contacts with Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyakov, end of December.
U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, opted out of participating in the probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. election for the same reason.
FBI Chief, James Comey, reported this week that his agency was conducting an independent inquiry into the case.