Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Friday, and have concluded that there was no “collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”
The release wraps up a yearlong probe that was often marred by bipartisan fighting.
“The Committee found no evidence that President Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings formed the basis for collusion during the campaign,” the report said. “There is no evidence that Trump associates were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related emails, although Trump associates had numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks.”
“For example, the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer who falsely purported to have damaging information on the Clinton campaign demonstrated poor judgment,” the report explained. “The committee also found the Trump campaign’s periodic praise for and communications with WikiLeaks — a hostile foreign organization — to be highly objectionable and inconsistent with U.S. national security interests. The committee also found that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from 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.”
The report found that Russia “conducted cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions in 2015-2016.”
It said the FBI did not adequately notify Russian hacking victims, and “the Executive Branch’s post-election response was insufficient.”
The report included a section on “leaks” by the intelligence community.
Democrats have accused Republicans of conducting an incomplete and misleading investigation, and the report’s release comes just over a month after the panel voted along party lines to make it public following a declassification review.
“Today, HPSCI is able to release a declassified version of our report on the Russia Investigation,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who has led the probe for the past year, said in a statement. “With the public release of this report, the American people will have the opportunity to access the information used to draw the conclusions found in last month’s findings and recommendations.”
Conaway added that he was “extremely disappointed with the overzealous redactions made by the IC.”
Conaway took over the investigation from Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who said in a statement he was pleased the report was being made public, but objected “to the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information.”
In a tweet, Trump supported the report’s conclusions and appeared to refer to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, calling it, “A Total Witch Hunt!”
Democrats’ response to the March report called it a “terrible disservice to the country and the American people.”
“The decision to shut down the investigation before key witnesses could be interviewed and vital documentary evidence obtained will prevent us from fully discharging our duty to the House and to the American people,” the report from the Democrats said.