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Sen. Mitch McConnell announced Monday he backs a congressional probe into possible Russian interference in the U.S. election, but he said it would be handled by individual committees rather than a commission.

The intelligence community believes Russia was engaged in election-related hacking in order to benefit President-elect Trump.

McConnell, the majority leader, also condemned any move to politicize the intelligence related to Russian hacking, declining to reveal whether he believes there is any truth to reports that the country acted to help Trump.

“We are going to follow the regular order process,” the Kentucky Republican said. “It’s an important subject and we are going to do it on a bipartisan basis.”



McConnell appeared to reject calls by House Democrats for the establishment of a separate commission to examine the issue. Instead, McConnell said, the panels with jurisdiction over the matter will be spearheading the effort. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., will conduct their own probes within each panel.

“Let me remind all of you that the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which I and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee sit as ex officio members, is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter,” McConnell said. “And Senator Schumer will soon join us on that committee and he can review this matter through the regular order.

McConnell made the announcement following bipartisan calls for a probe into Russian hacking of Democrats prior to the election. On the Senate side, incoming Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is leading the party’s call for an investigation.

“We welcome Leader McConnell’s support for a deep and thorough bipartisan investigation into reports that Russia interfered with the 2016 election,” Schumer said. “This issue should not and must not turn into a political football. It’s absolutely essential that this investigation be bipartisan, wide-ranging, and have access to all of the relevant intelligence so that we can find out how this happened, and how we can stop it from happening ever again.”

Susan Ferrechio contributed to this story.

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