Leroy N. Soetoro
2018-03-13 03:42:01 UTC
President Donald Trump immediately claimed vindication in the report,
which Democrats blasted as premature and misleading.
By KYLE CHENEY 03/12/2018 07:01 PM EDT Updated 03/12/2018 10:40 PM EDT
House Intelligence Committee Republicans closed their investigation of
Russian election interference Monday, declaring they found no evidence
that President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign cooperated with the Kremlin, a
conclusion Trump quickly celebrated but which Democrats called premature
and even misleading.
Soon after the Republican announcement, Trump triumphantly claimed
vindication on Twitter. "THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14
MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR
COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION," he wrote.
The House Republicans also said that a 150-page report they prepared
without consulting their Democratic colleagues contradicts the U.S.
intelligence community's firm conclusion that the goal of the Russian
government effort was to boost Trump's campaign.
"We don't think that's supported by the underlying data," Texas Rep. Mike
Conaway, the Republican leading the probe, said in a phone interview.
Conaway told reporters Monday that some Trump campaign figures may have
shown bad judgment in meeting with Kremlin-linked figures but that the
meetings had not amounted to collusion.
Conaway said dozens of interview and an exhaustive review of the
intelligence agencies' findings suggests the Russian goal was to sow
confusion and discord, not to help Trump. He added that a second report on
that specific issue would be forthcoming.
Trump is sure to welcome that opinion as well. He is said to resent
suggestions that Russian meddling might undermine the legitimacy of his
election. And he has insisted the Kremlin would have no reason to root for
his victory, despite the fact that Trump repeatedly spoke of befriending
Russian President Vladimir Putin and repairing fractured U.S.-Russia
Democrats said Monday that the House GOP's conclusion adds new urgency to
the ongoing investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. But the
Republican conclusion could provide Trump with more ammunition to attack
Mueller's probe, which the president has called a "witch hunt."
Mueller's last set of indictments, filed last month against 13 Russian
nationals accused of manipulating U.S. social media and staging political
rallies during the 2016 campaign, asserted that the Russians sought not
only to disparage Hillary Clinton but to assist Trump. The Russians worked
for an internet "troll factory" funded by a well-known ally of Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
Democrats erupted in anger after they were blindsided by a summary report
released by committee Republicans. They said it confirmed their long-
standing view bolstered by a recent secret Republican memo alleging
anti-Trump bias on the part of Justice Department and FBI officials that
House Republicans were more interested in covering for the president than
in an exhaustive public account of Russia's political meddling.
"By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the
House, the majority has placed the interests of protecting the president
over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,"
said California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee.
In an interview on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show", Schiff said that
Democrats on the committee would continue to conduct research
independently, though they lack the power to compel witnesses through
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has operated in a far more
bipartisan fashion than its House counterpart, is still conducting its own
investigation of Russian election interference. So is the Senate Judiciary
Committee, which has been riven by partisan disputes.
House Republicans say they want to move past the divisive subject of
collusion and focus their efforts on blocking Russian interference in
After more than a year investigating Russias actions in the 2016
election, we are well into the primary season for the 2018 elections and
experts are warning that we need to safeguard against further
interference," said AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan.
"Thats what this next phase is about and we hope Democrats will join us
in seeing this through.
The committee interviewed its final witness in the probe, former Trump
campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, last week. But the 150-page report
must still go through a classification review by the intelligence
agencies. It has been in the works for weeks, a process committee
Republicans did not disclose to their Democratic counterparts or to the
The GOP report finds that Russians intended to sow discord, faulted a
lackluster effort by the Obama administration to combat Russian cyber
activities, and suggested that intelligence officials may have had
improper contacts with the media.
The report's contradiction of the U.S. intelligence community's finding is
likely to further inflame tensions between Trump supporters and
intelligence officials accused of representing an anti-Trump "deep state."
It includes what Conaway told POLITICO was "almost a man-year's worth of
work" in reviewing the intelligence community's findings about Russian
election interference. But he did not offer any specific details Monday
about why he believes the intelligence conclusion that the Kremlin,
after initially setting out to undermine Clinton, came to work on behalf
of Trump's campaign was mistaken.
"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign
in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election," stated the October 2016
report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI,
the CIA and the NSA.
"Russias goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic
process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and
potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government
developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high
confidence in these judgments," the report stated.
At the start of the House Intelligence Committee's probe, its chairman,
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) pursued still-unsubstantiated allegations that
Obama administration officials mishandled classified surveillance of Trump
associates. Democrats charged that Nunes's real goal was to undermine the
credibility of charges that Trump or his associates might have been
influenced by the Kremlin.
Schiff and the panel's other Democrats charged that Republicans seemed to
rush the probe to a conclusion before the committee had developed a
complete picture of how Russia intervened in the 2016 vote.
The committee has not interviewed several key Trump associates who have
either been indicted or pleaded guilty in the course of Mueller's probe.
They include former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy
Rick Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump
campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
In recent days, several Republican members of the House Intelligence
Committee had been openly calling to bring the investigation to a close,
claiming frustration over ceaseless tension on the panel, leaks from
witness interviews and a climate of mistrust that had harmed the
committees historical spirit of bipartisanship.
Democrats, though, have insisted that Republicans show little interest in
getting straight answers from top Trump allies, like the presidents son
Donald Trump Jr., White House communications director Hope Hicks and the
presidents personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Schiff and the rest of the committee Democrats have complained that
committee Republicans have failed to force witnesses to answer questions,
to subpoena documents or to even attempt to look into potential financial
entanglements among Trump, his associates and Russia.
It also appears that Conaway ended the investigation without ever
convening a meeting with Schiff and Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Richard
Burr (R-N.C.), who head the Senate panel looking into Russian
interference. Though Conaway had suggested in December that he hoped to
align his committees factual findings with the Senate Intelligence
Committees investigation, a source familiar with the inquiries said no
meetings had occurred.
Conaways decision comes despite recent reports of Muellers interest in a
new angle: the January 2017 trip by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to the
Seychelles, where he met with the leader of a Russian-government-run
Reports suggest that investigators believe Prince was acting as a
representative of the Trump transition team, but Prince told the House
Intelligence Committee that wasnt true.
The House probe has been marred from its early days by steadily rising
hostility between Republicans and Democrats, a dynamic that grew into a
crippling distraction. Members accused one another of leaking sensitive
information from inside committee hearings, and the panel was sidetracked
for weeks as Republicans took unprecedented steps to disclose classified
information impugning the integrity of FBI agents involved in the early
days of the Russia investigation.
Democrats have raised alarms in recent weeks amid indications that
Republicans were moving quickly to curtail the inquiry.
Schiff issued a list of Democratic subpoena requests that have been
ignored by committee Republicans, including for more details from Donald
Trump Jr. about the fallout from news that hed met in 2016 with Kremlin-
connected Russians in Trump Tower; travel, phone and banking records from
Cohen; and testimony from Hicks, who declined to discuss her White House
tenure and certain elements of the transition.
Republicans, though, have argued that Democrats are stringing along the
investigation to generate harmful headlines about members of the Trump
Asked about criticism that Republicans were ending the investigation
prematurely, Conaway said some critics would never be satisfied.
"There's still folks who disagree with the Warren report on the
assassination of Kennedy," he said.
Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump
Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp.
ObamaCare is a total 100% failure and no lie that can be put forth by its
supporters can dispute that.
Obama jobs, the result of ObamaCare. 12-15 working hours a week at minimum
wage, no benefits and the primary revenue stream for ObamaCare. It can't
be funded with money people don't have, yet liberals lie about how great
Obama increased total debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the eight
years he was in office, and sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood queer
liberal democrat donors.