Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee say they have found no evidence that President Donald Trump and his associates colluded with Russian officials in an attempt to turn the 2016 election in his favor, contradicting the intelligence community’s unanimous conclusions regarding Russian election interference.
The House panel’s findings are part of a 150-page draft report that Representative K. Michael Conaway, who oversees the committee’s Russia probe, announced on Monday. The document, however, is expected to be made public in a few weeks at the earliest.
“We’ve found no evidence of collusion,” Conaway told reporters Monday, noting that the worst the panel uncovered was “perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings.” One such meeting was the one which took place in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York City between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer, The Washington Post writes.
Conaway further accused Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn of reading too much into these “inadvertent contacts” and meetings, reiterating once again that there is no evidence of collusion. The document was compiled without any input from Democrats, but they will nonetheless be able to see and weigh in on it starting Tuesday, Conaway added.
Trump responded to the announcement on Twitter on Monday night, writing “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.”
President Trump has long claimed the U.S. spy chiefs’ assessment that President Vladimir Putin engineered the Russian election meddling operation to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Trump is a hoax and a “witch hunt.”
The House panel’s move may reignite calls by Trump allies for the dismissal of Mueller and the further politicization of the entire Russia question, according to CNN analyst and former CIA and FBI official Phil Mudd.