The incoming Senate Minority Leader told hosts of TV’s CBS This Morning that he is pleased Sen. Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) supports calls for a congressional investigation into possible Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election, but he does want it to become political, like what happened with Benghazi.
“We don’t want this to turn into a Benghazi investigation, which seems at least to many people highly political–this is serious stuff,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who is now the Senate’s number three Democrat, but on Jan. 3 takes over as his party’s Minority Leader, adding, “… when a foreign power tries to influence our election, or damage our economy for that matter.”
Speaking to reporters Monday, McConnell said he would expect the Senate Select Intelligence Committee to take up the matter as part of its jurisdiction and the regular order of the Senate.
Schumer said the problem with the Russians keeps getting worse and that both Republicans and Democrats are coming together to find out exactly what they have been up to.
“A bipartisan investigation that is not aimed at one instance, but at the broad scope of this is what is needed,” the senator said.
Recently, members of the president’s national security staff told the Washington Post that they had briefed senators on a CIA assessment that the Russians had participated in the 2016 election process at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. But other media outlets report that the FBI does not share the CIA’s conclusions.
Schumer told the CBS This Morning hosts he has not been briefed about how the Russians were involved in the election and he is eager to find out why the CIA and the FBI disagree. “We really need to get to the bottom of this.”
On the House side of the Capitol, Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement Monday that his committee would also be looking into the question of what the Russians did or did not do in the 2016 election cycle.
“The House Intelligence Committee is conducting vigorous oversight of the investigations into election-related cyber attacks. Seeing as cyber attacks, including Russian attacks, have been one of the committee’s top priorities for many years, we’ve held extensive briefings and hearings on the topic,” said Nunes, who is also a member of the executive committee of the president-elect’s transition team.
“As the FBI, CIA, and other elements of the Intelligence Community continue their investigations into these attacks, the House Intelligence Committee will remain a vigilant monitor of their efforts,” he said.
Nunes said he was also aware that President Barack Obama has ordered his own investigation into the Russians.
“We will also closely oversee the production of the report on these attacks requested by President Obama to ensure its analytical integrity,” the congressman said. “At this time I do not see any benefit in opening further investigations, which would duplicate the current committee oversight efforts and Intelligence Community inquiries.”