Tue Dec 13, 2016 09:11PM
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves as he steps out of his plane for a rally at the JetCenters of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on September 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves as he steps out of his plane for a rally at the JetCenters of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on September 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

A panel in the US Senate is set to hold a hearing on allegations of Russian hacking in favor of GOP candidate Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

It was announced Tuesday that the Foreign Relations Committee will hold a closed briefing and a public hearing on the issue when senators return from their year-end holiday just before Trump is set to take control of the White House on January 20th, 2017.

"The committee plans to systematically look at this issue and will begin with both a classified briefing and an open hearing in early January when the Senate returns," Micah Johnson, a spokeswoman for the panel's Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The announcement came as Trump’s Russia problem deepened with top Republicans refusing to dismiss the matter as “ridiculous” as their president-elect has.

Trump’s spokesman, Jason Miller, has described the assumption that the Russian government favored the New York billionaire’s presidency as “clearly an attempt to delegitimize President-elect Trump’s win. ... First there was the recount nonsense, then the discussion of the popular vote, now it’s anonymous sources with conflicting information.”

He was referring to a Washington Post recent report, which quoted anonymous intelligence officials as saying that they have identified “individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others.”

Following the report, US President Barack Obama ordered intelligence officials to perform a “full review” of election-related hacking.

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) kept blaming Russia over support for the New York billionaire.

Ahead of the 2016 vote, transparency organization WikiLeaks released hacked information on the DNC and the Clinton campaign that undermined the Democrats’ efforts, aimed at maintaining control of the White house.

Trump’s pick for the secretary of state, the Russia-friendly CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, is also highlighting his pro-Moscow stance.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted Sunday that “a friend of [Russian President] Vladimir [Putin] is not an attribute I am hoping for from” the next secretary of state.

Moscow, however, has constantly denied the accusations, with the Russian president asserting that Russia “on a state level has never done this."