Final House Intelligence Committee report on Russia defends Trump



WASHINGTON ― The Republican-controlled House intelligence committee released its final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election Friday morning, arguing it found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow and prompting immediate recriminations from Democrats.

Citing interviews, reviews of documents and other investigative steps, the 253-page document states that “the Committee did not find any evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

“While the Committee found that several of the contacts between Trump associates and Russians ― or their proxies, including Wikileaks ― were ill-advised, the Committee did not determine that Trump or anyone associated with him assisted Russia’s active measures campaign,” the report says.

The report’s authors attempt to equate the actions of the Trump and Clinton campaigns, faulting both for “poor judgment and ill-considered actions.” When, for instance, they criticize Trump campaign links to WikiLeaks and a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians who claimed to have damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and members of the Trump campaign, they try to balance that out with criticism of Clinton associates who paid former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump-Russia links.

The document also bashes Obama administration officials for failing to alert the Trump campaign to counterintelligence investigations during election season, particularly of pro-Russia Trump adviser Carter Page.

More on the dossier:

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Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
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Former British spy compiled dossier on Trump-Russia ties
A man enters the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A camera man stands outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Business Intelligence where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A police car drives past an address which has been linked by local media to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who has been named as the author of an intelligence dossier on President-elect Donald Trump, in Wokingham, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
People stand outside the building housing the offices of Orbis Buiness Intelligence (C) where former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele works, in central London, Britain, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Journalists gather outside the headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company run by former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on January 12, 2017 in London, England. Mr Steele has been named as the man who compiled the intelligence dossier on US President-elect Donald Trump, alleging that Russian security forces have compromising recordings that could be used to blackmail him. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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Begun in a bipartisan fashion after the U.S. intelligence community publicly accused Russia of intervening in the election to help Trump, the House intelligence committee’s investigation devolved into mudslinging as the panel’s chairmain, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), sought to shift its focus to alleged Obama administration misdeeds. Nunes grew close to the White House and continued to drive important decisions about how the panel conducted its work even after he publicly committed to taking a step back.

Trump praised the document on Twitter soon after it was released, highlighting the Clinton mention and lobbing an attack at other ongoing investigations of potential collusion with Russia. Two Senate committees are still looking into the issue, as is special counsel Robert Mueller at the Justice Department.

Democrats slammed the report. The House intelligence committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), issued a statement calling its findings “superficial and political.” He criticized how the Republican line changed over time ― citing the way GOP members first disputed the intelligence community’s claim that Moscow wanted to help Trump and hurt Clinton, and then avoided making that case in their final product.

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Rep. Adam Schiff
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U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speak with the media about the ongoing Russia investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) reacts to Committee Chairman Devin Nunes statements about surveillance of U.S. President Trump and his staff as well as his visit to the White House, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at a town hall meeting on healthcare reform in Alhambra, California, August 11, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES HEALTH POLITICS)
Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (R) speak during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 19, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks during a news conference discussing Russian sanctions on Capitol Hill February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / ZACH GIBSON (Photo credit should read ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Adam Schiff arrives at the 85th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade on November 27, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tara Ziemba/WireImage)
GLENDALE, CA - OCTOBER 07: Congressman Adam Schiff poses with guests at the HAAS Spine And Orthopaedics Official Opening Reception held at HAAS Spine & Orthopaedics Center on October 7, 2016 in Glendale, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks through the crowd on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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“Throughout the investigation, Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, instead adopting the role of defense counsel for key investigation witnesses,” Schiff said. He added that Republicans did not allow the panel to interview all witnesses it sought to before formally ending the probe last month.

He said the Democratic minority on the panel is continuing to investigate and received new materials from a witness just this week.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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