Republicans on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee will issue a report in coming weeks that will find no evidence of coordination between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Russia in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, as Democrats denounced the conclusion, accusing the GOP of running an investigation that was incomplete at best.
“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the House GOP stated in a one page release.
In a written statement issued Monday evening, the head of the Russia probe, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) said, “we are confident that we have thoroughly investigated” the question of Russian meddling, finding that while Russian ‘active measures’ were deployed against the 2016 elections, there was no collusion, and no effort to try to elect Mr. Trump as President, as Republicans were ready to move on to election security questions.
“At the same time, there is no dispute that Russian intention to infiltrate our democratic processes cannot be ignored. States must begin to prepare themselves now to protect the integrity of our elections for 2018 and beyond,” said Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL).
The findings were heralded on Twitter by President Trump, who has long attacked the investigations as a partisan witch hunt against him.
The House investigation was marked by partisan acrimony from the beginning, coming to a head when Republicans on the panel pushed to release their own rundown of events regarding one part of the Russia investigation, as Democrats then released a rebuttal memo to counter the information in that GOP document.
The Republican document will be given to Democrats on Tuesday; the GOP report will also conclude that the Russians were not trying to get Mr. Trump elected in 2016, an assertion still made by the U.S. Intelligence Community, and supported by a recent indictment of a group of Russians brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The House probe did not explore all possible witnesses – for example, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has already pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents when asked about his contacts during the transition with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, was not brought before the panel for questioning, leading Democrats to charge that it was never an honest investigation.
“If you’re determined not to find something, you can usually avoid finding it whether it’s there or not,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who echoed many Democrats in accusing intelligence panel chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of doing nothing but carrying water for the President.
Democrats immediately denounced the reported GOP findings.
“This is outrageous,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who accused the GOP of a “blatantly political move” to protect the President.
“It doesn’t get more shameful than this,” McGovern added.
“Congressional Republicans prioritized politics over what’s best for the American people,” said Rep. Donald McEachin (D-NJ).
The decision by House Republicans to end their investigation certainly does not stop the overall probe; the Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating the 2016 campaign circumstances, and Special Counsel Mueller continues his probe as well.
Mueller’s investigation has already netted five guilty pleas, an indictment of the President’s one-time campaign manager, and a detailed indictment of a group of Russians who used social media to try to influence the 2016 election.