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PA Dem Chair: Investigate Russian election hacks

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Marcel Groen Friday called for an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the extent and the possible effects of Russian computer hacking on the recent national election.

Getting to the bottom of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign — which U.S. intelligence agencies believe was directed by the Kremlin and aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidency — is essential to protecting the integrity of the nation's vote, Groen said.

"At the end of the day the winner of the election is not Donald Trump but Vladimir Putin," Groen, of Montgomery County, said on a conference call with reporters. "This is not sour grapes. We accept the results," he said, but it is important to remove all doubt surrounding the election.

"We need to figure out exactly what happened; we need to determine what Trump knew, when he knew it and, and what the consequences were; and we need to ensure this never, ever happens again," Groen said. "And shame on those on the other side of the aisle who went along with this assault on our democracy."

On Thursday, Clinton also called for an independent investigation of the hacks, adding that it should be modeled on the 9/11 commission of bipartisan leaders who investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks on the homeland. She also asserted, in a meeting with donors, that the Russian disruption effort harmed her campaign.

"This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it," Clinton said. "This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation."

Trump has laughed off the conclusions of the CIA and other intelligence agencies about Russian hacking, saying that the spooks who posited weapons of mass destruction in Iraq cannot be trusted.

Groen spoke on a call organized by the DNC the morning after a Trump "thank you" rally in Hershey, Pa. Thursday night. Also on the call was Rick Bloomingdale, president of the state council of the AFL-CIO, who attacked many of Trump's cabinet choices as bad news for the working-class voters who backed the real-estate developer.

The labor leader noted that Trump had announced his intent to appoint an education secretary, Michigan's Betsy DeVos, with an avowed belief in dismantling the public education system as constituted by means of vouchers, and a labor secretary, fast-food exec Andrew Puzder, who opposes enforcing most labor laws, including the minimum wage.