Senate

Reid: Putin ‘clearly’ involved in election hack

Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in trying to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. 
 
Asked Thursday whether he believed Putin was directly involved, the outgoing Nevada senator told reporters at his final press conference that “from what I understand, the answer is clearly yes.” 
 
“And his having been the former head of the KGB, does that surprise you? And does it surprise anybody today when he denied it?” he added. 
 
{mosads}Two senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News that Putin “personally directed” how hacked materials from Democrats were leaked and used in the runup to last month’s White House race. 
 
The Kremlin denied that on Thursday morning, with Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling it “laughable nonsense,” according to the Associated Press.
 
Reid has lashed out at the FBI for months, arguing Director James Comey tried to cover up ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, while also letting the agency interfere in the final weeks of the U.S. election 
 
“It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government,” he wrote in a late October letter. 
 
He reiterated his call on Thursday for Comey to step down but predicted he wouldn’t because he’s “basking in the glow of the election.” 
 
“I think that it’s about time that Comey acknowledged publicly what a disservice he’s rendered to our country by doing nothing, except interfering with the election. That is beyond all precedent,” he said. 
 
He added that “he’s became such a partisan that he should become the next chair of the [Republican National Committee].” 
 
Multiple congressional committees have said they will investigate the Russian hacking next year, but Democrats want either a special select committee or for lawmakers to launch a nonpartisan commission. 
 
Reid backed starting a commission this week, arguing the hacking is “as big a deal as Watergate, as 9/11.”
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