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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said he supports last week's decision to slap sanctions on Russians.

"I think it's entirely appropriate," the Republican from Jonesboro said. "It's clear that the Russians have been interfering in U.S. elections."

Moscow has been trying to meddle for decades, he said.

"This phenomenon is nothing new. What's new is the level of involvement. We now have a more sophisticated network ... using social media, cable news and things of that nature that have facilitated Russia's interference," he said.

Crawford, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said he supported the decision to wrap up its investigation.

With elections months away, "The primary concern right now is ... safeguarding our electoral process," he added.

There's no evidence of collusion and no evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election, Crawford said.

"That's something only he [Putin] knows. And I doubt he would ever tell anyone. At least, not anyone on our committee," Crawford said.

Putin aimed to be a troublemaker, not a kingmaker, Crawford suggested.

"The evidence clearly suggests that he was trying to sow discord and undermine American confidence in our electoral process," he said. "Vladimir Putin, he's a former KGB agent, he would like to reconstitute the Soviet Union in his image, and he wants to be a more prominent player on the global stage. He wants to be a dominant superpower, and so that's kind of what his agenda is."

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