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Democrats seek FBI investigation over hacking

August 31, 2016

Democrats want the FBI to investigate whether Russia's government is attempting to undermine the 2016 US presidential election. Some even allege the involvement of Donald Trump's campaign in recent cyberattacks.

US-Senat Harry Reid Demokrat Haushaltstreit
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid did not suggest Trump's campaign was involved in the hacksImage: Reuters

Several Democratic members of Congress have petitioned the FBI to examine the involvement of Donald Trump's campaign in cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Cybersecurity specialists have blamed the attacks, which led to the release of thousands of embarrassing documents, on hackers working for the Russian government.

Though Kremlin officials deny any involvement, Representatives Elijah Cummings, John Conyers, Elliot Engel and Bennie Thompson note connections between Russia and Trump aides, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort. He resigned following revelations of past work for a political party that supported Russian government interests in Ukraine.

In a letter sent Saturday and published by "The New York Times" Monday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also asked FBI Director James Comey to investigate, but did not suggest Trump's campaign had a hand in the hack attacks. However, Reid did express concern that Russia's government might make an effort to manipulate the campaign ahead of the November 8 election, in order to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reid called the threat of Russia's tampering in the election "more extensive than widely known" and wrote that it "may include the intent to falsify official election results."

Comey wouldn't give details about probes into the hack attacks, but indicated that the FBI would closely watch foreign countries. The FBI examined breaches in voter registration databases in Illinois and Arizona, but did not specify suspects. According to the White House, US President Barack Obama's national security advisers have discussed whether to designate state election systems as "critical infrastructure."

Clinton also facing more questions

Meanwhile, a right-wing legal group has submitted 25 written questions to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state - also the subject of a recent FBI investigation. Judicial Watch submitted the questions to the Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday following an order issued this month by US District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

The ruling left unclear whether Clinton must answer the questions under oath before or after the November election. According to the State Department, thousands of recently recovered emails include about 30 that involve the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

mkg/gsw (Reuters, AP)