Less than a week into Donald Trump's presidency, both chambers of Congress have launched probes into alleged hacking by Russia that spy chiefs believe was designed to help him win.

The moves could deepen the rift between the new President and the intelligence community - which has said that Russia intervened in the US election with the goal of helping to elect Trump. It could also eventually drive a wedge between Trump and the Republican Congress, depending on the information that is uncovered and how aggressively lawmakers move to follow it.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is in charge of the Senate's investigation, kicked off its probe yesterday with a meeting to establish the scope of its inquiries.

Lawmakers have pledged to look "everywhere the intelligence tells us to go" in investigating Russia's activities in the 2016 elections, said the committee's chairman, Richard Burr - even if that includes links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.


The House Intelligence Committee has also launched its formal inquiry, Chairman Devin Nunes and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff said itoday. They promised their focus on Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election would include "any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns".

The committee leaders added in their statement that they have already begun to receive documents related to the investigation, while warning incoming Trump Administration officials that they expect them to "fully and promptly support our requests for information related to the inquiry. It will not be adequate to review these documents, expected to be in the thousands of pages, at the agencies".

And Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said his committee in the next week or two will launch its official investigation into how best to deter and counteract cyberthreats posed by countries such as Russia.

He plans to hold at least one full committee hearing, calling on officials such as Admiral Michael Rogers - the director of the National Security Agency and the head of US Cyber Command - to testify.

Republican leaders are not promising a quick turnaround.

Burr surmised that it would take months to "aggressively" comb through all the intelligence pertaining to the suspected hacking, given that the scale and extent aren't yet clear. And Republican leaders are clearly waiting on the intelligence panels to take the lead.