Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced Monday they found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation and that they are shutting down their yearlong investigation.
Those are the initial conclusions of a 150-page report from GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are formally bringing the panel's year-long investigation to an end over the fierce objection of Democrats.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who leads the House Intelligence Committee's Russian Federation investigation, says the panel has finished conducting witness interviews and will share its report with Democrats on Tuesday. The probe - originally meant to be bipartisan - is ending even though an inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller remains underway and at least four people connected to the president's campaign are facing criminal charges.
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"Clearly the dossier would have hurt him and helped her", Conaway said.
He said the worst the panel found was "perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings", which appeared to refer to a June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer that has come under scrutiny. Two weeks ago Mueller secured a guilty plea from a third former Trump campaign aide on charges not directly related to collusion.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2018.
The public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public.
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Republicans said they agreed with the US intelligence community's January 2017 report that Russia tried to interfere in the USA presidential election, but did not agree that the Russians were trying to help Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Conaway stressed that the GOP's draft report was not final and he would seek to incorporate Democrats' suggestions before turning it over to the intelligence community for redactions, but Democrats are expected to release a separate report. Stewart says the investigation found no evidence of that.
Conaway said he hopes that Democrats can work with Republicans on the draft report, and he wants to take their feedback as they shape the final report.
Ending the House probe puts renewed urgency on Mueller's investigation of potential crimes committed by Americans connected to the Russian plot. Those interviewed over the course of the investigation include prominent members of the Trump campaign: former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, son Donald Trump, Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former senior strategist Steve Bannon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the indicted Russian nationals could be prosecuted in Russia if they were found to have broken Russian law.
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The report does recognize Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, and will make more than 25 recommendations, including ways to improve election security.