The probe will investigate any communications between Russia, Donald Trump and members of the President-elect's incoming administration.
The independent investigation, signed by Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, will including a probe into...
"any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns."
The decision comes a day after top intelligence officials had a briefing with Senate lawmakers that left Democrats furious that they were not informed prior to the election about the Intelligence Community's knowledge of Russian hacking. The meeting also led Democrats to demand more information about allegations that the Trump campaign was in direct contact with Russian operatives while the hacking was occurring.
The panel, once convened, will hold hearings as well as interview top officials about the issue and will issue subpoenas if needed. The panel will also produce classified and unclassified report on it's findings.
Ranking member, Sen. Warner said he's willing to go along with Burr's investigation for now and said the intelligence panel, which has access to classified information, is in the best position to conduct the probe saying...
"In my view, our committee investigation should focus on three broad areas: the Russian hacking and release of stolen information; Russia's use of state-owned media and other means to amplify real and fake news to further their goal; and contact between the Russian government and its agents and associates of any campaign and candidate."
The probe will be conducted behind closed doors citing a need to ensure source anonymity but will regularly brief the Senate on its findings. In other words get ready for some really good leaks!