[lead]She warned of the “sobering possibility that Russia is employing the tactics it has used to influence elections in places like Ukraine and Georgia, this time in the United States.”[/lead]
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is urging the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold a hearing on Russia’s reported involvement in U.S. elections.
“I believe a full committee hearing on this issue, perhaps supplemented by a classified briefing, would be beneficial both to members of the committee and the constituents they represent,” Shaheen wrote in a letter Thursday to Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chair and ranking member of the committee, respectively.
The intelligence community has coalesced around the belief that the Russian government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The stolen emails released from that incident seemed to show staffers tipping the scales in the primary toward Hillary Clinton, even though they were supposed to remain neutral. Soon after, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) stepped down from her position as DNC chair.
Last month, the FBI also issued a nationwide alert urging states to examine the vulnerability of their voting systems. Hackers have targeted systems in both Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI informed the latter state in June that Russian hackers were behind the breach there.
“These developments raise the sobering possibility that Russia is employing the tactics it has used to influence elections in places like Ukraine and Georgia, this time in the United States,” Shaheen wrote.
“Senator Cardin is supportive of Senator Shaheen’s request and looks forward to working with Chairman Corker to accommodate this important hearing,” said Sean Bartlett, spokesman for Cardin on the committee. “He is very concerned about the mounting evidence that Russia is interfering in our political process and more broadly, believes Russia continues to play by its own rules at the expense of international norms, the rule of law, and global stability. A hearing will bring greater transparency to these issues as our security and law enforcement officials continue their important work.”
Corker’s office did not return a request for comment.
As Russia has interfered on the Democratic side, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has essentially allied himself with the Russian government.
Trump and his advisers have significant financial ties to Russia, and he often expresses his admiration for President Vladimir Putin.
“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him,” Trump recently said about Putin. “I’ve already said, he is really very much of a leader … the man has very strong control over a country.”
Trump has also called on Russia to hack into Clinton’s emails and release them publicly.
This story has been updated with comment from Cardin’s office.