U.S. senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee will probe Russian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election, joining several other congressional panels investigating Moscow's alleged hacks.
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism will investigate Russian attempts to influence democratic elections both in the United States and other countries, panel leaders announced on Thursday.
"We look forward to investigating Russia's efforts to influence democratic elections, both here at home and abroad," Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), the subcommittee's chairman and ranking member, respectively, said. "Our goal is simple–to the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy."
The intelligence community released an unclassified report in January concluding that Russia engaged in a cyber and disinformation campaign against the U.S. presidential election to undermine American democracy and damage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. President Donald Trump has expressed skepticism about the intelligence community's conclusions.
Several congressional panels–including the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Foreign Relations–are already looking into Russia's meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
The Judiciary subcommittee aims to review the intelligence assessment of Russia's attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election; explore ways to prevent further foreign efforts to influence U.S. elections and institutions; and make sure that Congress gives the FBI the proper tools to safeguard its investigations from political influence.
"While some of our efforts will have to be held behind closed doors due to security concerns, we also hope to have an open discussion before the American people about Russia's strategies to undermine democracy," the senators said. "Our efforts will be guided by the belief that we have an obligation to follow the facts wherever they may lead."