A bipartisan appeal to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 Election was forcefully followed Monday by a call from Senate Democrats for an independent, nonpartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in last November’s vote.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and other senators announced earlier this week they wanted a commission formed that would comprehensively investigate Russian interference in the 2016 Election.
A U.S. intelligence report published last week found that Russian President Putin ordered an influence campaign to help Donald Trump win the 2016 Presidential Election.
The commission, officials said, would fully investigate Russian cyberattacks on U.S. political entities and election infrastructure and any other attempts by the Russian government to influence U.S. elections. The probe would also seek to identify those responsible and recommend a response — as well as actions the U.S. can take to defend itself in the future.
Sen. Murray’s office said the autonomous body could be modeled on other independent commissions, and would compile all available classified intelligence and open source information, conduct hearings and interviews, with subpoena power, and report its findings to Congress within 18 months from being formed.
The membership of the commission would be individuals appointed by the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional leadership.
The legislation complements the call by bipartisan leadership in the Senate for Congressional investigations as well as support in the House of Representatives for an independent commission.
“Any interference by an outside group in our elections is a dangerous threat to the foundation of our democracy, and like many people across the country, I don’t believe we should allow it to be swept under the rug,” Murray said. “The American people deserve transparent, fair elections – and it’s our responsibility to investigate evidence that threatens that.”
The legislation was originally introduced by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).