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Democrats unveil measure to investigate foreign interference in U.S. election

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan, independent commission that would investigate whether there was foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The measure would establish a 12-member commission that would be able to obtain documents, issue subpoenas, interview witnesses and receive public testimony about whether the Russian government and other tried to influence the election, according to a joint release from its sponsors, Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-California and Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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The commission would be tasked with investigating hacks into the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, state election databases in Arizona, Illinois and Florida, hacks into Colin Powell’s emails and the emails of John Podesta, who served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“While our intelligence agencies have concluded with high confidence that Russia meddled in America’s elections, to what degree and whether other state or non-state actors were involved remains unresolved. Americans of all political parties are rightfully worried and deserve answers,” Swalwell said in a statement.

“Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, Russia’s attacks on our election are an attempt to degrade our democracy and should chill every American—Democratic, Republican, or Independent—to the core,” Cummings added.

Under the legislation, the speaker of the House, Senate majority leader, House minority leader and Senate minority leader would appoint the 12 members of the commission within 90 days of enactment.

In early October, the Obama administration accused the Russian government of hacking into U.S. political groups, people and institutions in order to influence the election. In early September, Clinton suspected that Russia was behind the hacking attacks at the Democratic National Committee and other groups.

Trump has voiced skepticism about Russia’s involvement and in a recent interview for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” the president-elect seemed to still have that position. 

“I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered,’” he said. “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

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