The House Intel Committee's Conclusions on Russia Are a Complete Joke
It has long been clear that the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is a mess, and a new report it's planning to release is certain to confirm that belief.
Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) said that the committee found no evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia before the election. He even cast doubt on the intelligence community's unanimous assessment that Russia intervened in the election with the express intent of helping Donald Trump get elected.
"The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future,” Conaway said Monday. “We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
He continued: "We found no evidence of collusion. We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings."
Trump took the statement as an opportunity to declare victory:
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION… https://t.co/cdRy6HvVZS— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1520902167.0
Conaway, who has been leading the investigation within the committee, gave the statement instead of the committee's chair, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Nunes' credibility has been completely destroyed over the past year. Nunes, who worked on Trump's transition team, has repeatedly tried to muddy the waters around the Russia investigation by spuriously claiming wrongdoing by the FBI or former national security adviser Susan Rice. The House investigation has been seen, even by its own members, as a completely partisan affair.
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation continues, as does special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, which is widely believed to be considering whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
Democrats on the committee strongly disagree with the majority's reported conclusions, and will likely release their own conclusions in a separate report. Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's top-ranking Democrat, said the investigation has not been nearly thorough enough.
"On a whole host of investigative threads, our work is fundamentally incomplete, some issues partially investigated, others, like that involving credible allegations of Russian money laundering, remain barely touched," he said in a statement. "If the Russians do have leverage over the President of the United States, the Majority has simply decided it would rather not know. On the final aspect of our work—setting out the prescriptions for protecting the country going forward—we will endeavor to continue our work, with or without the active participation of the Majority."