Hoosiers take critical role in Russian hacking investigation and national intelligence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Vice President-elect Mike Pence kicked off a tense news conference Wednesday at Trump Tower, in a quick and coordinated effort by the incoming administration to discredit new unsubstantiated claims that Russia tried to blackmail President-elect Donald Trump with personal and financial secrets.

“The irresponsible decision of a few news organizations to run with a false and unsubstantiated report, when most news organizations resisted the temptation to propagate this fake news, can only be attributed to media bias,” Pence said. “And attempt to demean the incoming president and administration.”

Hoosiers will play a key role in the new administration, specifically on matters of the nation’s intelligence and high-level secrets as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to unravel the new reports and overall assertions of Russian hacking on the U.S. election.

“This is an act of war against our country and we intend to meet it appropriately,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said Wednesday afternoon in an interview with FOX59. “They have interfered in the electoral system of our country, in electing our own leaders, and that is about as serious as it can possibly get.”

Both Donnelly and Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) have called for independent investigations into Russian hacking. Donnelly serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Carson on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“I think it’s a serious concern,” Carson said in a recent interview. “I think one it has symbolic concerns because Russia sees herself as a superpower.”

Meantime former Sen. Dan Coats awaits Senate confirmation to be national intelligence director.

Former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard met with the Trump transition team Wednesday. It’s not clear what was said in the meeting, but Ballard issued this statement:

“As was reported, I went to New York City today to meet with members of President-Elect Trump’s transition team. We had a wide-ranging discussion, and I was deeply impressed by the knowledge and professionalism of the people in the room. It is an honor to be asked to participate in this process, and I look forward to further conversations.”