House intel panel releases final report on Russian Federation probe

by Abel Hampton April 30, 2018, 1:24
House intel panel releases final report on Russian Federation probe

The House Intelligence Committee ended its probe into the 2016 presidential election Friday, concluding there is no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russian Federation.

The GOP-authored report marks the close of its investigation, which began with bipartisan promise but ultimately succumbed to factional squabbling.

Republicans' report faults President Barack Obama's administration for what it calls a sluggish and disorganized response to the attack on the 2016 campaign.

The panel did find that Russian Federation sought to sow discord in the USA through cyberattacks and social media.

The report said, "Continued leaks of classified information have damaged national security and potentially endangered lives".

"They have engaged in a systematic effort to muddy the waters, and to deflect attention away from the President, most recklessly in their assault on the central pillars of the rule of law", Democrats wrote in a 98-page dissenting note, alleging the House panel report has been "crafted to advance a political narrative that exonerates the President, downplays Russia's preference and support for then-candidate Trump, explains away repeated contacts by Trump associates with Russia-aligned actors".

The report largely confirms the findings of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation was assessed to be responsible for cyberattacks on USA political institutions, including the hack of the Democratic National Committee's emails.

Schiff called on the committee to publicly release the transcripts from dozens of interviews with key witnesses, saying the public should be able to judge the evidence gathered by the committee.

The report says it found "no evidence" of collusion from the president's campaign with Russian Federation, though it concluded that both Trump's campaign and that of Democrat Hillary Clinton exercised "poor judgment". But the probe did provide important public revelations.

The president weighed in on the report in a Friday tweet, appearing to say that the investigations of potential collusion between his campaign and Russia "MUST END NOW!"

The former chair of the Trump campaign has also been indicted as well as his deputy. Nunes was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, but never formally rejoined the House investigation.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said he was "extremely disappointed" with the amount of redactions in the report. He said numerous blacked out details include information already public such as witness names and previously declassified information.

House investigators cautioned that Russian Federation will continue meddling in USA elections and suggested some fixes that would help the government and politicians better defend against that interference.

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