House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee effectively closed an investigation into collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign on Monday, declaring none was found.
A January 2017 assessment from intelligence agencies found with "high confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government expressed a "clear preference" for Donald Trump in the campaign, and sought to influence the election on his behalf as part of Putin's "longstanding desire to undermine the USA -led liberal democratic order".
The report says that though the committee agrees with USA intelligence agencies that the Russian government tried to meddle in the election, they do not have information to suggest Russia was trying to help President Donald Trump win.
Committee member Rep. Mike Conway said the House investigation had found "bad judgment" and "inappropriate meetings" between Russian Federation and members of the Trump campaign, according to The Wall Street Journal, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. "But we can't find anything that leads us to a collusion string". However, they disputed the findings of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation that Moscow sought to aid Trump, who won a surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Republican members of the House of Representatives committee had been saying for weeks they were near the end of the interview phase of the probe, saying they needed to release their findings to prepare for the next general election in November.
The report will include an assessment of the June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., and Russians with ties to the Kremlin, concluding that nothing discussed represented collusion. "We've looked at hundreds of thousands of documents, and we're just at the point where we feel, again, we've reached some conclusions, let's share those with the American people", said Stewart, (R) Utah.
The GOP report also asserted that Russian Federation didn't side with Trump in their interference with the 2016 election - which is at odds with United States intelligence agencies. The Senate panel is expected to issue findings on the more controversial issue of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation at a later date. "We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump".
Conaway said that the Republicans on the committee wanted to interview former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but said Schiff "wanted to delay us". He said Democrats would have an opportunity to offer their input before the report is sent for declassification and ultimately public release, a process that could take at least a month.
They conclude that Russian Federation did interfere with our elections, and are rolling out several recommendations moving forward.
Their conclusion - which matches Trump's own view on election meddling - will likely differ from the opinion held by their Democratic counterparts.
Conaway said he saw no "link" between Trump's finances and the committee's investigation, and he did not want to go on a fishing expedition. Nunes continued to churn out explosive but false counter-charges depicting the Russian Federation investigation as a Deep State conspiracy against the completely innocent Trump campaign. He said the committee has ended its interviews after a more than yearlong investigation. Then, Democrats and Republicans on the panel agreed on a four-part framework for the investigation and pledged to work "on a bipartisan basis" to "fully investigate all the evidence we collect and follow that evidence wherever it leads".
"To me, I don't see anything else that's out there that hasn't been explored", Rep. Pete King, a New York Republican, told CNN last week. Important witnesses have not been interviewed, and records have not been subpoenaed, including bank documents and certain communications that Democrats say are paramount to understanding the case. "It's time we return focus to the people's agenda".
Democrats denounced the Nunes memo as a blatant attempt by Trump and House Republicans to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He said the committee was preparing a separate, in-depth analysis of the intelligence community's assessment.