The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, made the decision to shut down the committee’s probe into Russian meddling and collusion with the Trump Campaign, according to NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik’s spokesman Tom Flanagin.
Stefanik, R-Willsboro, is a member of the intelligence committee.
“There wasn’t a vote,” Flanagin said about the Monday evening announcement. “Congresswoman Stefanik believes it’s time to give the American people the information they have obtained in order to protect our nation against further Russian attempts to influence our elections.”
Despite Flanagin’s contention that Conaway made the decision, other reports about the Republican move point to the majority committee as the decision-makers.
According to the one-page majority committee summary released on Monday night, “The House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations.” The summary is published on official committee letterhead.
Additionally, in a 22-page report, “Status of the Russia Investigation,” released on Tuesday evening by the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Ca., the majority committee decided to end the probe.
Schiff details an extensive list of witnesses that have not yet been interviewed and documents that have not yet been released, despite month’s-old requests for the documents. He said, in the 22-page status of the Russia investigation report, the majority decision was made without the consensus of the entire committee.
“This is representative of partisanship at its worst,” NY-21 Democratic challenger Don Boyajian, of Cambridge, said in a Tuesday afternoon interview. “This is an issue of national security. This is party over country and partisanship in the worst possible way. “
When pressed by The Post-Star for an interview with the congresswoman to clarify her position regarding the Russia probe, the committee ending the investigation and the committee’s decision along party lines, Flanagin said she was too busy, despite a 6:05 p.m., Monday, request.
“Unfortunately, her schedule today is committed to House Armed Services Committee work, constituent meetings and other media interviews on this topic,” Flanagin said on Tuesday. “I would refer you to her statement on this.”
According to her prepared statement, Stefanik, R-Willsboro, believes the Russians intended to interfere with the 2016 election process. But she did not say if she agreed or disagreed with the one-page intelligence committee majority report finding that there was “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
“I have been concerned about the politicization and leaks throughout this Congressional investigation, which is why 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 her statement on the issue.
“This is a classic Stefanik maneuver. Say one thing and do something else,” Boyajian said. “She tries to have it both ways with everything, health care, the environment. She tries to appear bipartisan. How can you make that vote (the release of the majority report) and then say the investigation is worthwhile?”
“It’s not factually consistent with her actions,” he said. “It’s not only confusing, it’s a disservice to American people.”
Stefanik did talk to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican on Tuesday afternoon.
“I believe that we’ve seen evidence that Russia did seek to hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign,” she said to the Press-Republican. “I will continue to focus on this, both on the Intelligence Committee and in my capacity as the chair of Emerging Threats (subcommittee) to counter Russia’s undermining of democratic institutions and the electoral processes.”
The congresswoman also said in a release she believes the best way to get to the truth is through the Mueller investigation.
“I believe that they’re uniquely positioned. They have access to all witnesses and information,” she said to the Press-Republican. “They haven’t had to deal with executive privilege claims; and they haven’t had lapses in confidentiality.”
NY-21 constituent Joe Seeman of Saratoga County noted that Stefanik’s statement does not mention the majority committee conclusion.
“The House Intel Republicans spokesperson, Rep. Conaway, said that there was no evidence of collusion and that the Russians were not trying to help Trump win,” Seeman said. “But Stefanik’s statement completely omits any reference to these conclusions, although her statement includes a link to the Republicans’ statement.
“Why do you think Stefanik omitted the conclusions? Does she not agree with them? Could she be trying to falsely portray herself as somehow not part of this attempt to cover up for Trump and Putin in this unparalleled foreign attack on America’s democracy?” Seeman asked.
Stefanik did not respond to similar questions from The Post-Star.