WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of Russian meddling in the 2016 election will include a look at any intelligence “regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, the committee’s chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, the committee’s vice chairman, said in a joint statement that the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election also will focus on Russian cyberactivity and “active measures” against the US.
It was known that intelligence panels in both chambers of Congress were tapped by Republican leaders to probe the hacking, but Friday’s announcement makes clear the scope and details about the review. It is also notable that the announcement was joined by Warner, as Democrats have clamored for a bipartisan look into what role, if any, Russia may have played in the election.
The statement said the committee will produce both a classified and unclassified report on its findings.
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.
The statement cited an announcement in early October by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that publicly raised the specter of Russia interfering in the election. On January 6, the intelligence community issued an unclassified report detailing information that generally concluded Russia attempted to interfere with the outcome of the election.
Both Obama and Trump have publicly stated that they believe Russia was involved in the hacking, though Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism at the intelligence community’s findings, particularly its conclusion that Russia interfered to boost his chances of victory.
Comey explains actions to Senate
Also on Friday, US officials told CNN that FBI Director James Comey explained in a Senate classified briefing Thursday why his bureau looked again into emails connected to the Hillary Clinton email server investigation in October.
Comey told them for the first time that investigators found new classified emails — which were on a computer owned by Anthony Weiner — though none were marked classified, the officials said. Many were ones they had seen before, but some were new, and the FBI didn’t know what they were dealing with.
It appears Comey didn’t provide as much information in a House briefing on Friday.
In the end, none of the emails changed the overall conclusion that Clinton had not acted illegally.