House Intel Republicans, Citing No Evidence of Collusion, End Russia Probe

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that they did not find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin in a more than yearlong probe of 2016 Russian election interference.

That initial finding is one of more than 40 in a draft report spanning over 150 pages that Republicans said would be shared with Democrats for review and comment on Tuesday. The draft report is also expected to describe “how anti-Trump research made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign” and “problematic contacts between senior intelligence community officials and the media.”

Monday’s announcement effectively marks the end of the panel’s probe, which has been mired in partisan discord since at least March 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating 2016 election interference, as is the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year,” said Texas congressman Mike Conaway, who along with Tom Rooney and Trey Gowdy has headed up the investigation for several months.

Democrats are expected to disagree with some of the findings in the Republicans’ draft. The panel’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff, described the end of the investigation as “another tragic milestone for this Congress.”

“On a whole host of investigative threads, our work is fundamentally incomplete, some issues partially investigated, others, like that involving credible allegations of Russian money laundering, remain barely touched,” he said in a lengthy statement.

“The Majority was not willing to pursue the facts wherever they would lead, would prove afraid to compel witnesses like Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump Jr., Corey Lewandowski and so many others to answer questions relevant to our investigation,” Schiff continued. “Instead, it began a series of counter-investigations, designed to attack the credibility of the FBI, the Departments of Justice and State, and investigate anyone and anything other than what they were charged to do.”

Conaway said the panel has conducted 73 witness interviews and reviewed more than 300,000 documents.

The GOP report will agree with the intelligence community’s 2017 assessment of election interference, “except with respect to [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

The intelligence community assessment concluded that, in influencing the 2016 election, Russia sought to undermine faith in the democratic process and denigrate Clinton, with a “clear preference” for Trump.

“Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” that report reads.

In his statement Monday, Schiff said that the intelligence community assessment is a “fundamental aspect” of the panel’s probe that both Republicans and Democrats “should have been able to issue a common report” on.

“On those issues, the evidence is clear and overwhelming that the Intelligence Community Assessment was correct,” he said.

The GOP report also includes about Russia’s cyber activity overseas, its cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions in 2015-2016, the “lackluster pre-election response” to Russian interference in 2016, and the Kremlin’s use of social media to sow discord.

It will include recommendations related to election security, responding to cyber attacks, campaign finance transparency, and “counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns and unauthorized disclosures.”

This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard


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