Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting bipartisan calls for a special committee to investigate Russian interference in the U.S. election, which American intelligence says was aimed in part at helping Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. The likely meddling by Russia “is a serious issue, but it doesn’t require a select committee,” said McConnell, R-Ky. The Senate intelligence committee is able to investigate the matter, he added. CIA Director John Brennan has said the intelligence community is in agreement that Russia tried to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, although there’s no evidence Moscow succeeded in helping Trump win. “There’s no question that the Russians were messing around in our election,” McConnell told Kentucky Educational Television on Monday night. “It is a matter of genuine concern and it needs to be investigated.”
Still, McConnell said the issue should be investigated in “regular order” by the Senate intelligence panel, which is “fully capable of handling this.”
McConnell’s comments put him at odds with Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans who have joined with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a special committee to investigate efforts by Russia, China and Iran to interfere in U.S. elections.
A select committee is a high-profile panel created by congressional leaders that taps lawmakers from a variety of committees to focus on a single issue, such as Watergate or the Iran-contra arms deal.