U.S. intelligence agencies are facing growing pressure from congressional Democrats in both houses demanding further disclosures regarding the President-elect’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia’s role in the 2016 US elections.
In a letter signed by every Democrat and aligned member of the Senate intelligence committee, Democrats seek declassification of “additional information concerning the Russian government and the US election”, The Guardian Reported Thursday.
The White House has not responded to the letter, prompting a group of senior House Democrats to write a second letter, this time to the president, seeking a classified briefing for colleagues on “Russian entities’ hacking of American political organizations; hacking and strategic release of emails from campaign officials; the WikiLeaks disclosures; fake news stories produced Russian operatives and distributed by the Trump team with the intent to mislead American voters; and any other Russian or Russian-related interference or involvement in our recent election.”
Both communiques, according to the report, strongly implied that the intelligence agencies know significantly more about Russian involvement in the election than they have disclosed.
The letters were signed by Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, as well as the top Democrats on the House judiciary, intelligence, armed services, foreign affairs and oversight committees.
As the report states, top US intelligence and homeland security officials have formally accused the Kremlin of directing the hack of the Democratic National Committee and implied that the Russians used WikiLeaks, which published extensive internal communications among top Democrats, to launder responsibility for the release. The unusual public accusation held that the Russians were attempting to “interfere” in the election.
Trump responded by insulting every American Intelligence agency by defending Russia and saying their findings are “politically motivated.”
The senior Democrat on the intelligence committee, Adam Schiff of California, took umbrage at Trump’s implication that “the intelligence community is lying” and said Trump was not acting presidentially.
“Notwithstanding the abundance of evidence that Russia hacked our political institutions during the presidential campaign and dumped documents in an effort to meddle in our political affairs, President-elect Trump’s comments this morning continue to contradict our intelligence professionals and carry water for the Kremlin,” Schiff said on Wednesday.