WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio is poised to play a role in an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.
Rubio is a member of the Intelligence Committee that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said he wants to take the lead on the inquiry, which is gaining steam among Republicans and Democrats while President-elect Donald Trump lashes out at suggestions he got an assist from suspected Russian hacking.
"The Russians are not our friends," McConnell said.
A Rubio spokesman said, "Sen. Rubio believes the committees on intelligence, foreign relations and homeland security, among others, should handle this oversight duty. He supports doing so as a member of the intelligence and foreign relations committees."
When stolen Democratic emails were released during the election, the Florida Republican refused to comment and said Republicans could one day be targets.
"I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks. Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us," Rubio said in October. "As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it."
Some news reports, citing unnamed intelligence officials, say GOP accounts were also breached but the material was not made public like the embarrassing Democratic emails. Rubio's name came up in some DNC emails, mostly confirming how Democrats saw the rhetorically gifted, Hispanic lawmaker as a threat to Hillary Clinton.
On Sunday, Rubio criticized Trump's reported pick for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, citing his coziness with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Being a 'friend of Vladimir' is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState," Rubio wrote on Twitter. He sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, which would get an early crack at a Tillerson nomination, though Trump implied he could change his mind.
"Whether I choose him or not for 'State'- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!" Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter.
On Monday, the president-elect again dismissed signs of Russian involvement in the election. "Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!"