“No Evidence” of Trump campaign collusion with Russia: House Intelligence Committee

An investigation by the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has found “no evidence” of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.

The committee’s investigation into Russia’s suspected interference in the election – the findings of which were published in a redacted report- also said there was no proof Trump’s business dealings formed a basis for collusion with Moscow during his successful bid for the presidency.

US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address as US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / POOL / Win McNamee)

The report’s conclusion is fiercely opposed by Democrats on the committee, who says the panel did not interview enough witnesses or gather enough evidence.

The investigation began with bipartisan promise but ultimately succumbed to factional squabbling. Republicans had already announced the main findings last month. An investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller is ongoing, as are investigations led by the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees.

The House panel did find that Russia sought to sow discord in the US through cyber-attacks and social media. Some portions of the report are redacted for national security reasons. Republicans say they will pressure intelligence agencies to be able to release more information.

Trump has repeatedly said there was “no collusion”. On Friday, he tweeted: “Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia’. Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia– Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”

Trump later spoke to reporters in the Oval Office, where he was meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The president called the report “very good” and “totally conclusive”.

“No collusion, no coordination, no nothing,” he said. “It’s a witch hunt. That’s all it is. There was no collusion with Russia.”

Though it found no collusion, the Republican report does fault the Trump campaign over several key events during the campaign. It states that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that a Russian lawyer and had with Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort “demonstrated poor judgment.”

It also states that the Trump campaign’s “periodic praise for and communications with Wikileaks-a hostile foreign organization-to-be highly objectionable and inconsistent with U.S. national security interests.”

The Republican report also faults Hillary Clinton’s campaign for its role in the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia, stating that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee “paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials.”

Sources: House of Representatives Press Release, AL Jazeera, CNN, Reuters.

The Kootneeti Team - White House Watch

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