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US lawmakers back inquiry into charges against Russia

By Our Correspondent 2016-12-14
WASHINGTON: Leading Republican and Democratic lawmakers joined hands on Tuesday in calling for a congressional inquiry into allegations that Russia hacked their parties` computers and used the data to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

The momentum to hold investigations picked up steam on Monday, when the Senate`s top Republicans joined Democrats, the White House and other Republican leaders in calls for a probe.

President-elect Donald Trump, however, has rejected the CIA`s hacking report as incorrect and a conspiracy against him.

`Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory,` he tweeted.

`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?` he said in another tweet.

When the CIA report first appeared in the US media late last week, some Republican lawmal(ers backed Mr Trump but by Tuesday he was left nearlyalone in questioning the agency`s claim that Russia stole emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton`s campaign, and leal(ed them to influence the election.

On Monday afternoon, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican who was resisting calls for an inquiry, announced that he too backed the demand for an investigation.

Senator McConnell`s announcement followed bipartisan pressure, led by Senator john McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Senator Marco Rubio, another Republican from Florida.

On the Democratic side, Senators Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy issued public statements, calling for setting an independent, non-partisan commission to comprehensively investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

`Any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts, Senator McConnell said.

`This simply cannot be a partisan issue.