Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Republicans find no evidence of collusion or Russian preference for Trump

Republicans find no evidence of collusion or Russian preference for Trump

"We've found no evidence of collusion", Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who oversees the Russian Federation probe, said Monday.

"We found no evidence of collusion", Conaway told reporters Monday, suggesting that those who believe there was are reading too many spy novels.

The GOP majority on the House panel will show its draft report to Democrats on Tuesday before seeking approval from the full committee to release it. Democrats plan to write a separate report that will likely conclude there is strong evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The Intelligence Committee did find, however, that Russian Federation took active measures to meddle in the 2016 election, and that the majority expects it to undertake similar measures again. He declined to put a timeline on when the report would be made public, as the committee intends to submit it to the intelligence community for declassification beforehand.

The Republican report will also say how "anti-Trump research" made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign through the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.

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Committee Democrats have also clamored for the panel to issue several subpoenas for witnesses who either have ignored the committee's requests to appear or given incomplete answers during their interviews with the panel. Conaway did not suggest that Clinton knowingly coordinated with the Russians, but said the dossier clearly "would have hurt him and helped her". "We've interviewed everyone we think we need to interview".

The end of the Russian Federation interviews is only the latest battleground on the House Intelligence Committee, which has been consumed by partisan fights for the better part of a year, from Chairman Devin Nunes' role in the investigation and more recently over competing memos about alleged surveillance abuses at the FBI during the Obama administration. Several witnesses including Bannon and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks curtailed their testimony and refused to answer questions about their time in Trump's White House. The Democrats and Republicans have openly fought throughout the investigation, with Democrats suggesting a cover-up for a Republican president and one GOP member of the panel calling the probe "poison" for the previously bipartisan panel.

Nunes temporarily stepped aside from the Russian Federation investigation last April when the House Ethics Committee announced that it was investigating whether Nunes violated any laws or congressional rules by disclosing classified information.

It will include at least 25 recommendations, including how to improve election security, respond to cyberattacks and improve counterintelligence efforts.

In addition to the investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees, the Senate Judiciary Committee has conducted a more limited probe and is not expected to issue a final report.

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