After years of political disputes, President Barack Obama and top United States congressional leaders have found something on which they can agree.
The two sides believe there should be an official investigation of suspected Russian attacks on American computers and whether they influenced the 2016 presidential election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, have expressed support for such an investigation.
“The Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said.
Ryan said an investigation by the House should not make anyone question Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. But Ryan said foreign interference in a U.S. election is “entirely unacceptable.” He called possible involvement by Russia “especially problematic.”
On Monday, Obama said he had ordered a complete examination of possible Russian cyberattacks.
“The reason I have called for a review is really to just gather all the threads of the investigations, the intelligence work that has been done over many months so that the public and our elected representatives going forward can find ways to prevent this kind of interference from having an impact on the elections in the future.”
Obama spoke on the Comedy Central television program, The Daily Show.
The Central Intelligence Agency found that Russia interfered late in the election campaign to help Trump win the presidency. Trump has dismissed that CIA report.
Experts said Russians attacked the computer systems of both the Republican and Democratic Party national committees. But they say the Russians targeted embarrassing emails involving the Democrats and their presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. These emails were given to the Wikileaks organization, which published them on its website.
Democrats in Congress want to study the possibility of Russian involvement in the election separate from the investigation ordered by the president.
Delaware Senator Chris Coons is a Democrat. Coons told VOA he is happy that congressional leaders from both parties have called for both public and private investigations.
“I’ve heard evidence that convinces me that at the highest level the Russian government was directly involved in trying to influence the outcome of our election,” Coons said. “I think it is a shocking action by the Russian government and something that deserves close consideration, action and response.”
Coons also said that the reports of Russian involvement in the election raise “questions about President-elect Trump’s ties to Russia because he refused to ever disclose his taxes during the course of the campaign.”
Earlier this week, Democratic Senators Benjamin Cardin, Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy called for the creation of an independent investigation.
Trump has suggested the Democrats only want an investigation because they are unhappy that he won the election.
Trump has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some members of the U.S. intelligence community believe Trump does not understand that Russia is a threat to U.S. national security.
I’m Anne Ball.
VOA Correspondents Wayne Lee and Michael Bowman reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
threads - n. an ideas, feelings, etc., that connect the different parts of something (such as a story)
impact - n. a powerful or major influence or effect
embarrass - v. to make (someone) feel confused and foolish in front of other people
convince - v. to cause (someone) to believe that something is true
outcome - n. something caused by an activity or process; result
response - n. something that is done as a reaction to something else
disclose - v. to make (something) known to the public