CAPITAL REGION -- Despite the shutdown of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 election, other probes of Russia's efforts to assist President Donald Trump need to continue, said U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, on Tuesday.
Stefanik said the decision by the committee's Republican majority, announced Monday, simply means the committee is moving from a year-long investigative phase to one in that will make recommendations about how to prevent foreign interference in future U.S. elections -- and she supports the continuing independent probe of Trump-Russian contacts being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"I will continue to be an outspoken supporter of the Mueller investigation, which I believe is best-equipped and our best hope to get to the apolitical truth," Stefanik said in a prepared statement.
Stefanik, who represents the North Country's 21st Congressional District, is one of 13 Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, and the only member from upstate New York.
"I believe that it is clear that Russians were intent to interfere in our 2016 election process," Stefanik said.
Rep. K. Michael Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the investigation, said committee Republicans agreed with conclusions by American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the election but broke with the agencies on one crucial point: that the Russians favored Trump’s candidacy, The New York Times reported Monday
“The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future,” Conaway said. But, he added, “We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
A one-page summary of the investigation provided by Stefanik's office said the committee has found a pattern of Russian cyberattacks on the U.S. and its European allies, and the committee agrees with the U.S. intelligence community's findings about the attacks, "except with respect to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's supposed preference for candidate Trump."
"We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians," the summary states.
The committee's Democratic minority is expected to issue a formal reply, but on Monday, ranking Democrat Rep. Adam K. Schiff said the decision was ending the investigation prematurely.
“By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the majority has placed the interests of protecting the president over protecting the country,” he said, according to the Times report. “And history will judge its actions harshly.”