House Intel Committee OKs Release of GOP Report in Russia Probe

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 @LeahBarkoukis
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Posted: Mar 23, 2018 8:30 AM
House Intel Committee OKs Release of GOP Report in Russia Probe

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to release the GOP-authored report on its Russia investigation, which found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The report will now be sent to the intelligence community to be declassified.

“Last January, we set out to investigate Russian active measures during the 2016 election. Today, we are one step closer to delivering answers to the questions the American people have been asking for over a year,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the top GOP lawmaker leading the Russian probe.

“The report, which will include minority views if the minority submits them, presents the comprehensive results of what the Committee has learned during its fourteen-month-long investigation, and will be useful in thwarting any attempts by Russia or any other foreign powers to further meddle in U.S. elections,” House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a statement.

In the summary of findings the reports lists a number of meetings between Trump associates and Russian officials, saying they were “possible” attempts by Moscow to set up a “back channel” with Trump officials. 

"Possible Russian efforts to set up a 'back channel' with Trump associates after the election suggest the absence of collusion during the campaign, since the communication associated with collusion would have rendered such a 'back channel' unnecessary," the GOP summary said.

The committee dinged Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, for providing an "incomplete" account of his July 2016 trip to Moscow, which drew FBI investigators' interest. And the report said Trump associates had "ill-advised" contacts with WikiLeaks, the online platform that intelligence agencies say aided Russia's attempt to disseminate hacked Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails.

But in each case, the report's Republican authors concluded that the evidence failed to amount to active cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In some cases, they said the evidence undermined claims by the president's opponents that his campaign may have colluded with Moscow to win the 2016 election. […]

The report also accuses former Obama administration intelligence director James Clapper of providing "inconsistent testimony" about his contacts with the media. And it recommends a crackdown on leaks, including administering "mandatory polygraphs" to some administration officials with top secret security clearances and stiffening legal penalties for "unauthorized disclosures of classified information." (Politico)

Trump praised the committee’s decision to release the report Friday morning on Twitter. 

“House Intelligence Committee votes to release final report. FINDINGS: (1) No evidence provided of Collusion between Trump Campaign & Russia. (2) The Obama Administrations Post election response was insufficient. (3) Clapper provided inconsistent testimony on media contacts,” he said.