Politics & Government

Roberts, Moran back probe of Russia’s role in election

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, supports a comprehensive investigation into Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, supports a comprehensive investigation into Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 presidential election. File photo

Both Republican senators from Kansas support an investigation into Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Sen. Pat Roberts, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wants that committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation, according to his office.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee is the appropriate place to conduct a bipartisan and comprehensive investigation,” Roberts’ spokeswoman, Sarah Little, said in an e-mail when asked whether the senator supports an investigation into Russia’s actions during the recent presidential election.

The statement from Roberts’ office follows reports from the Washington Post and other outlets disclosing a CIA report that concluded the Russian government played a role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in an effort to boost Donald Trump, now the president-elect, in the recent election.

Roberts, the senior senator from Kansas, chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2003 to 2007. He supported Trump’s candidacy and served on his agricultural advisory committee during the recent campaign.

Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham put out a joint statement on Sunday with Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed calling for a bipartisan investigation of Russian interference in the election.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, came out in favor of the proposed investigation around noon Monday.

“Congress and the American people deserve more information about this issue,” Moran said in a statement. “Senate leadership has confirmed that we will convene hearings to better understand these cyber-attacks by foreign actors. I will continue working to make certain we can protect our nation against foreign threats, wherever they originate and whatever method is employed.”

Trump has dismissed the reports, saying on Twitter on Monday morning that “Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?”

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, whom Trump tapped to head the CIA, did not respond to a request for comment.

In an interview with The Eagle before the election, Pompeo would not speak about any Russian role in hacking the Democrats. But he did comment on cybersecurity more broadly, calling it “the next frontier of warfare.”

“We now see hacking taking place by foreign governments and by private individuals all around the world,” Pompeo said in the October interview. “America has to invest more and be more prepared.

“And we all have an obligation to be more secure in the way that we handle our own private information. There is a role there for the government to play, but a lot of this is going to be done by private individuals and private entities in America taking upon themselves of keeping their information more secure.”

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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