Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling upon the Senate to investigate allegations that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee's emails in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
“Assuming for a moment that we do believe that the Russian government was controlling outside organizations that hacked into our election, they should be punished,” the South Carolina Republican explained to Capitol Hill reporters on Tuesday. “Putin should be punished.”
While it may be unorthodox for a Republican legislator to call for an investigation of a crime committed against a Democratic politician, Graham made it clear that his fellow Republicans should not “let allegations against a foreign government interfering in our election process go unanswered because it may have been beneficial to our cause.”
Graham also said that the congressional hearings would mention “Russia’s misadventure throughout the world,” particularly its imperialist overtures in Eastern Europe and alleged humanitarian offenses in Syria. Both he and his close friend and colleague Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have been openly critical of Trump's foreign policy with Russia, arguing that he is cozying up to a dictator who can't be trusted.
Shortly after the Republican National Convention in July, thousands of emails hacked from DNC servers were leaked via WikiLeaks. Multiple journalists and federal security agencies have proved that Russia was responsible for the hacking, citing Putin's preference for Trump and distaste for Clinton as a motive for the security breach (Trump denied that the attacks were perpetrated by Russia).
"Regarding the content of some of the emails, bear this in mind: according to conservative author and former NSA analyst, John Schindler, who, by the way, is no fan of Hillary Clinton, part of the FSB’s tradecraft is to fabricate intelligence and toss it into a cocktail of legitimate documents," Salon's own Bob Cesca wrote at the time. "In other words, it’s fair to speculate, based on Russia’s modus operandi, that the questionable emails were doctored, if not manufactured for impact, while exculpatory emails might’ve been scrubbed from the tranche. We have to question everything here, given the tenacity of Putin’s propaganda efforts."