Ohio Republicans join call for election probe

Ohio Republicans say they support a congressional investigation into whether Russia meddled into November’s presidential elections, but some are skeptical of allegations that Russia intervened on President-elect Donald Trump’s behalf.

“Russia has clearly been involved in wreaking havoc among our allies around the world,” said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Twp. “I believe this matter needs to be looked into. I have full confidence in the House and Senate intelligence committees, as well as in the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, to continue their bipartisan work to investigate foreign hacking and cyberattacks on our nation.”

Tiberi’s comments echoed those of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who both indicated support Monday for investigations into cyberattacks. “Any foreign intervention in our elections is entirely unacceptable,” Ryan said, but added his support for an investigation “should not cast doubt on the clear and decisive outcome of this election.”

Trump, however, dismissed reports that the Russians had attempted to intervene in the elections.

“Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card,” Trump tweeted Monday. “It would be called conspiracy theory!”

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, said cyberattacks “are a growing problem.”

“Whether the attacks are from Russia, China or North Korea or from wherever, we must make sure our institutions, our businesses and the American people are protected,” he said. “That said, it would be a mistake to politicize the issue.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, also expressed skepticism, saying while he believed Congress should investigate, “I will point out I think the intelligence agencies by and large do a great job, but they’ve been wrong before.

“Let’s get to the bottom of it, let’s have the hearings, but this idea that somehow Vladimir Putin would rather deal with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton I think is sort of laughable on its face,” he said during an interview on Cleveland radio.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, also called the allegations serious but said he wanted to review the evidence.

“What we do know, however, is that there is one election that was indisputably ‘hacked’ — the Democratic Party’s presidential primary,” he said, referring to leaked emails indicating the Democrats’ support of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. “I call upon the Federal Elections Commission to investigate the impropriety of the Democratic National Committee immediately to ensure fair and open elections.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, asked about the issue on MSNBC last week, said he supports an investigation into whether Russia meddled in the election. “Sure I’m supportive of it,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, supports not only the bipartisan investigation, but has also called for a separate and fully independent commission to conduct an investigation free of any political influence.

“Fair and unobstructed elections are the foundation of our democracy and I fully support the efforts of Senators McCain, Reed, Schumer, and Graham to fully investigate reports of Russia’s interference,” he said. “It’s important that Republicans and Democrats continue to work together to defend our national security but this is about more than politics and a bipartisan committee isn’t enough. We also need also a fully independent commission that can conduct a rigorous investigation of Russia’s role in this election so we can expose any threats to America’s democratic institutions.”

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