Republicans find no evidence of collusion or Russian preference for Trump

13 March, 2018, 06:11 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Conaway of Texas right last month in Washington. Credit Jacquelyn Martin  Associated Press

The findings are part of a 150-page draft report that Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who oversees the committee's Russian Federation probe, announced on Monday. A declassified version then will be made public.

"We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians", the committee said in a statement Monday. "We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings", Mr. Conaway said during a briefing with reporters on Monday afternoon. Conaway said that meeting "shouldn't have happened, no doubt about that". "But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page turner, spy thriller".

Democrats have accused Republicans on the committee of shirking the investigation in order to protect Trump and his associates, some of whom have pleaded guilty to charges including lying to investigators and conspiring against the United States.

Soon after the Republican announcement on Monday evening, Trump quickly celebrated on Twitter, reports Politico news. Democrats are expected to dispute its conclusions as premature or partisan and raise what they call the roadblocks to a true investigation that Republicans put in place.

The president celebrated the news with a triumphant tweet in all caps, saying the committee had found "no evidence of collusion of coordination between the Trump campaign or Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential election".

The conclusions will be met with sharp disagreement from Democrats and are bound to inflame partisan tensions on a committee that's been beleaguered by partisanship throughout the course of its Russian Federation probe.

Schiff said Republicans have also refused Democrats' requests to subpoena vital documents, including financial and communications records that could verify or refute witness testimony.

House Republicans have barely even pretended to investigate Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections, and now even the bare pretense is coming to an end. This contradicts earlier findings from USA intelligence agencies. The public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks.

But the 150-page report, which has yet to be shared with committee Democrats and must still go through a classification review by the intelligence agencies, has been in the works for weeks.

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 Russian Federation.

"There are a number of steps that I think any credible investigator would say, 'These need to be done, ' and we still hope that they will be", Schiff said following Lewandowski's interview last week. However, he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a December 2017 House ethics probe. Despite signals the committee would seek to hold him in contempt for refusing to answer questions related to the Trump administration and the transition period, that now appears unlikely.

"We have nothing to do with the Mueller investigation".

The report will also examine Hillary Clinton's campaign, according to the AP.


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