Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election finding no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign, it was announced today.
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), the Congressman leading the investigation for the Committee released a statement saying the majority was shutting the investigation down and that they found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the election.
“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year,” Conaway said. “With the 2018 primary elections already underway and just 238 days until the midterm elections in November, it’s important that we give the American people the information they need to arm themselves against Russian attempts to influence our elections.”
That report will downplay the belief held by the U.S. intelligence community that a main goal of the Russian government was to help President Trump’s candidacy and hurt Hillary Clinton’s. Instead it will focus on the Russian government’s efforts to so disunity and “discord,” lay some blame at the Obama administration’s feet for a “lackluster” effort in responding to Russian interference and criticize some members of the intelligence community for inappropriate contact with the media.
That report is scheduled to be shared with Democrats on the Committee tomorrow.
Democrats strongly disagreed with the decision. Ranking member on the Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) sought connect the Committee’s abrupt end to the investigation and political pressure from the White House.
“While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch. By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,” Schiff wrote in a statement.
He also indicated that despite Republican’s assertions to the contrary, there is still much more that will be learned in the Russian investigation. “In the coming weeks and months, new information will continue to be exposed through enterprising journalism, indictments by the Special Counsel, or continued investigative work by Committee Democrats and our counterparts in the Senate,” Schiff wrote. “And each time this new information becomes public, Republicans will be held accountable for abandoning a critical investigation of such vital national importance.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing its investigation and Sens. Burr (R-NC) and Warner (D-VA) have long sought to differentiate the way the Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting its investigation from the way the House Committee is conducted its. They issue joint statements often and make joint appearances at press conferences whenever possible.
They also take great pains to keep their investigation under wraps leaving outsiders to only speculate about the status of their probe and when it may end.
“Our investigation remains ongoing,” is all a spokesperson for Senator Burr would say this evening.