Sen. Lindsey Graham introduces bill to create commission that would investigate Russian meddling in 2016 election

September 15, 2017 GMT

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wants to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the cyberattacks of the 2016 presidential election once and for all.

Announced Friday by Graham and Sen. Krisen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the bipartisan bill seeks to establish the National Commission on Cybersecurity of U.S. Election Systems. The commission would be tasked with examining the election-related hacking, along with making recommendations on how to best protect the country against similar activity in the future.

The commission would be modeled after the 9/11 Commission, the 10-member bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The intelligence community has said Russia is to blame for meddling in the 2016 presidential election — an accusation Russian President Vladimir Putin denied when he met with President Donald Trump in July. Following that meeting at the G-20 Summit, Trump declared it was “time to move forward” from the issue and to begin working with Russia on cybersecurity issues.

Graham, a member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, was vocal in his disagreement, telling Meet the Press, “It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.”

In a statement Friday, the South Carolina Republican said the issue of election interference in 2016 goes beyond party politics and “strikes at the heart of our democracy.”

“Hostile governments like Russia don’t believe in democracy,” Graham said. “They have shown an eagerness to meddle in elections in the United States and other democratic nations. We need to ensure we fully understand the threat they pose and the best practices to protect ourselves from future attacks.”

Gillibrand said in a statement that she has no doubt that Russia attacked America’s election infrastructure in 2016.

“We need a public accounting of how they were able to do it so effectively,” Gillibrand said. “The clock is ticking before our next election, and these questions are urgent.”

The senators said commission members would be selected by state election authorities and congressional leadership so that a group of experts would be able to make sound recommendations to lawmakers.