The Russians have long attempted to undermine our democratic process. Putin is both skilled and ruthless in his attempts to have Russia return to its former glory days of world influence and power. Political parties and ideologies aside, we need to know all we can about how the Russians are infiltrating and undermining our country. A clear and detailed picture of their activities by an independent bipartisan commission is needed for us to stand united and thwart these Russian efforts.

While the Democrats have long sought a more independent investigation, most Republican lawmakers have initially shunned such an effort. Now there is growing pragmatism among some Republicans, as with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, that a more independent investigation may better serve long-term Republican legislative interests. NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested that it may well be the Republicans themselves who will add to the call for an investigation of the Russian-election connection by an independent counsel or commission saying, “If they don’t do it, it’s going to consume this presidency” and limit what can be done legislatively. The “drip, drip” of revelations without an independent investigation could consume the legislative calendar.

If such is the case, many over a broad political spectrum would find value in a thorough and impartial investigation of Russian attempts to undermine the American election process. Were we not to respond to this Russian threat we can expect much more of this in the future, with widely varying sensitive targets. While both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees stated that they have the capability to fully investigate Russian election interference, both are more subject to political pressures than an independent commission.  

Remembering that the FBI, CIA and NSA all concluded that Russia had interfered with our election process, we should push for a thorough and independent, bipartisan  9/11-style commission to investigate Russian interference in the American election process. It’s a vital matter of national security.

Jerry Topinka, Boothbay Harbor