The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee scheduled a full committee hearing, named “Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,” Thursday — the day before the Congress meets in joint session to accept and approve Donald J. Trump’s final victory in the Electoral College.
The hearing comes one week after President Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia for what the president said was Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The retaliatory measures announced by the Obama Administration today are long overdue,” said Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.), the SASC chairman in a statement he released Dec. 29 with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.). “But ultimately, they are a small price for Russia to pay for its brazen attack on American democracy. We intend to lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia.”
Three members of the Obama National Security Team are James R. Clapper, Jr., the Director of Of National Intelligence; Under Secretary Of Defense For Intelligence Marcel J. Lettre II; and Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the commander of Cyber Command and the director of the National Security Agency. Of the three, Rogers is the only one expected to continue serving in a Trump administration — perhaps replacing Clapper, who has already announced his retirement from public service. Rogers met with the president-elect Nov. 19 at Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
Soon after the election, Rogers said at a forum sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that he was convinced that the Russians did work to affect the election results: “There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind. This was not something that was done casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 15, 2016
McCain and Graham are returning from the Capitol after a tour of Eastern Europe that included countries at odds with Russia, such as NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and independent republics of the former Soviet Union, Georgia and Ukraine. Graham is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he is considered McCain’s strongest ally in the Senate. Both men were reelected in 2016.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) December 31, 2016
Speaking on Fox News Dec. 15, Graham said Russia is working in all five countries to undermine democracy.
“I don’t know what their motives were other than to create discontent and discord and undermine democracy,” Graham said.
“I am not challenging the election results. Donald Trump won the election,” he said. “My concern is that if we don’t push back against Russian interference in our election, we’re inviting the Chinese and the Iranians to come and hack us when Trump gets tough with them.”