A senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is pressing Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to open an investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the ranking Democrat of an Oversight subcommittee concerning national security, wrote a letter to Chaffetz released Thursday calling for a new committee probe.

Lynch noted that the Oversight Committee under GOP leadership has investigated other cyberattacks, including the breaches at the Office of Personnel Management and private companies like Target.


“A bipartisan investigation to examine reports of Russian interference with U.S. federal elections would only further our ability to identify and address weaknesses in our public and private cyberdefenses in order to safeguard critical U.S. Government and private institutions against the sort of cyberattacks that the White House, the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, and various commercial banks, retail chains, and other private companies have experienced in recent years,” Lynch wrote.

Chaffetz’s spokeswoman declined comment.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the full Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, previously asked Chaffetz in mid-November to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. His request came before last week’s Washington Post report that the CIA concluded Russia deliberately meant to help President-elect Donald Trump defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) say they back Intelligence Committee probes of Russia’s role, but haven’t gone as far as calling for separate, bipartisan investigations. 

They’ve rebuffed calls from Democrats for broader probes, such as in the form of a bipartisan commission.

Trump, meanwhile, has rejected the CIA’s conclusion.

In July, during his last press conference, he called on Russia to hack Clinton’s email. His team has since claimed Trump’s remark was meant in jest.

At least three Senate committees – Intelligence, Armed Services and Foreign Relations – are expected to review Russian hacking in the new Congress.

Chaffetz, who aggressively investigated Clinton’s use of a private email server, has to date declined to say if he’ll probe Russian hacking of Democratic campaign officials. The Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta were all victims of hacking believed to be conducted by hackers affiliated with the Russian government.

Democrats have also been urging Chaffetz to probe Trump’s potential conflicts of interest with his real estate empire upon assuming the presidency. But Chaffetz has said it’s premature for his committee to investigate Trump since the president-elect hasn’t been sworn into office yet. 

Trump originally planned to hold a press conference on Thursday to explain how he’d avoid conflicts of interest. But he scrapped the plan and now says it’ll take place in January. 

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Jason Chaffetz Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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