The House Intelligence Committee released the long-awaited report regarding their investigation into the possibility of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The report concludes they found “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.
The Republican authored report was released in the midst of objections from Democrats and cited the committee “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian Government.” The committee did conclude that both the Trump campaign and the Hillary Clinton for America campaign engaged in “ill-considered actions” and that both campaigns displayed instances of “poor judgement.”
President Trump immediately began to chirp about the report as he tweeted the following:
“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 With Hunt! MUST END NOW!”
The 250-page report was heavily redacted which sparked Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who lead the investigation, to slam the intelligence community’s actions as “overzealous.” “I’m extremely disappointed with the overzealous redactions made by the [intelligence community]. Many redactions include information that is publically available, such as witness names and information previously declassified,” decried Conaway. “I will continue to challenge the [intelligence community’s] many unnecessary redactions with the hopes of releasing more of the report in the coming months,” said Conaway.
The investigation launched by the Intelligence Committee had four components to examine: Russian meddling efforts regarding the 2016 presidential elections, the United States response to Russian meddling efforts, possible links between the Russian government and both the Trump campaign and Clinton campaign, and alleged leaks of classified information.
The committee’s report also cites they found “no evidence that Trump campaign associates were involved in the theft of publication of Clinton campaign-related emails, although Trump associates had numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks.”
“Poor judgement” was found to be exercised in both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign throughout the vicious 2016 presidential election cycle. The Trump campaign was found to have displayed “poor judgement” in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign associated and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, “who falsely purported to have damaging information on the Clinton campaign.”
The committee found “poor judgement” on behalf of the Clinton campaign in that they used a “series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained by Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials.” “Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier,” read the report.
The report also found that the Steele dossier “formed an essential part of an application” that was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) in order to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.
The committee’s findings regarding the Steele dossier being a key component to the FISA application is in direct contradiction to disgraced former FBI Director, James Comey. On Fox News Thursday afternoon, James Comey claimed the Steele dossier represented a small fraction of the FISA application however, the Intelligence Committee’s reports now suggest the opposite. Andrew McCabe also testified before Congress that had it not been for the Steele dossier, the FBI would never have sought out a warrant in Carter Page’s name.
The report’s findings are not news, as the conclusion of the report was announced this past March by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee. The March announcement of the committee’s findings created a firestorm of words between Republican members and their Democrat counterparts, and the release of the report has been no different.
The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) blasted Republicans in March for “prematurely” shuttering the panel’s Russia investigation and has renewed those complaints upon the release of the full report on Friday.
“Notwithstanding the decision by the Majority to end its work and turn its attention to counter-investigations designed to serve the President’s interests, the Minority’s work on the Russia investigation continues,” said ranking Democrat Adam Schiff. “We will continue our investigation using every means at our disposal; to do otherwise would ignore our responsibility to conduct meaningful oversight and insure that the Russians do not possess leverage over the President of the United States.
The release of the House Intelligence Committee’s report is certainly good news for the President and those within his orbit however, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report is still outstanding. The Senate Select Committee’s investigation is said to be more credible than the House investigation since there have been very few leaks coming from that panel and a lot less media attention as a result.
To date, there has been no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. There were a total of three investigations launched in order to investigate the Russian effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election: The House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the special counsel Robert Mueller probe. All three probes included investigating the possible collusion between Russian and the Trump campaign. This makes one investigation down and two more to go, the Mueller probe of course being most consequential of the three. Though, as it stands right now, according to the special counsel’s February indictment, no American was wittingly involved in the Russian effort to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election. The Friday release of the House Intelligence Committee’s report on the Russian efforts regarding the 2016 presidential election is now an arrow in President Trump’s quiver to defend himself from the constant conspiratorial attacks from his adversaries.