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Why David Perdue hasn’t joined the call for a probe into Russian hacking

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) speaks to reporters at Trump Tower on Dec. 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) speaks to reporters at Trump Tower on Dec. 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. David Perdue has stayed curiously silent over the last week as many of his Senate colleagues have called for a new probe into possible Russian interference in last month’s election.

Our friend Denis O’Hayer over at WABE managed to pin down the freshman Republican on the topic yesterday. Perdue, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he wanted more information before he’d back such an inquiry:

“I understand the frustration of some of my colleagues and that’s sort of a go-to when they feel like they want more information. The CIA has a lot of information about that, so does NSA, so before I support another probe like that I’d like to know more about what those guys already have.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said two of the chamber’s committees will investigate CIA allegations that Russia directed hackers to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton in last month’s election.

That puts the GOP-led Senate and Trump at odds with one another, since the president-elect has tried to play down Russia’s motives.

Perdue, a prominent Trump backer, said it is “very troubling” that a foreign country tried to interfere in the country’s political system but said he did not think it had “any material impact on the election.”

Georgia’s other GOP senator, Johnny Isakson, said earlier this week that he would back an Intelligence Committee-led investigation.

Georgia Democrats, meanwhile, have stepped up the pressure on Perdue to demand an inquiry.

“Democrats strongly urge members of Georgia’s congressional delegation to join the call for the establishment of an independent, bi-partisan commission to investigate the full extent and scope of Russia’s interference in the election,” said party chair DuBose Porter. “The gravity of this threat to our security is above politics and action must be taken immediately.”

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None of this adds up.”

That’s what Secretary of State Brian Kemp told WGAU’s Tim Bryant this morning in drawing a line between a cyber threat against Georgia’s elections network and a Department of Homeland Security computer. The agency has denied any attempt to penetrate Georgia’s protected systems.

Kemp suggested that it could be linked to Georgia’s decision to block the DHS from performing security checks of the state election system in August.

“Were they doing this to try to show that they could break into our systems to show that we needed their help? I don’t know.”

He added: “I know how frustrated citizens get getting the government runaround. And that’s what I feel like we are getting right now. We have more questions than answers.”

Read our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin’s story about the latest developments in the inquiry here.

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State Sen. Judson Hill, the only announced Republican in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Tom Price, won the endorsement of another GOP leader who once represented the suburban Atlanta district.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed the Cobb Republican on his Facebook page, saying he has the “kind of proven conservative leadership Georgia needs.”

At least a half-dozen Republicans are considering joining the race, but most are in the densely-populated north Fulton stretch of the district – leaving Hill to try to consolidate Cobb for himself.

That could change, though, if John Isakson Jr. – the son of the U.S. senator – enters the race.

On the same note, Isakson Jr.’s name has popped up again, this time in an Instagram poll that a loyal reader sent our way.

Earlier this month, a robocall suggesting his candidacy hit answering machines across the district.

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