WASHINGTON – Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced they are ending their investigation of Russia and the 2016 US election, much to the surprise and outrage of House Democrats.
After the panel's year-long probe, a draft report concludes there was no collusion or coordination between President Donald Trump and Russia.
Trump praised the news in a Monday night tweet:
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Democrats, however, are incensed, saying the investigation is far from over and that more needs to be done.
Republicans "proved unwilling to subpoena documents like phone records, text messages, bank records and other key records so that we might determine the truth about the most significant attack on our democratic institutions in history," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA, the top Democrat on the committee, charged.
Unswayed by Democrats' ire, GOP Texas Congressman Mike Conaway says the committee has finished interviewing witnesses.
"We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters. "We've seen some, perhaps, meetings that were inappropriate or ill-advised to have taken. We've seen chance coincidences where people bump into each other in various places, but no evidence of collusion."
Fox News reports the committee based its probe on four issues:
- Russian active measures against the 2016 US election
- The US government's response to the hacking
- Links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns
- Alleged leaks of classified information.
"We disagree with the intelligence community's position that (Vladimir) Putin favored Trump," Conaway told Fox News, adding that he had "no contact" with the White House during the investigation.
"We believe we've got the information necessary to answer those for the American people," he concluded.
"Only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page-turner, spy thriller," he said.
The House panel is releasing the report's findings Tuesday. The 150-study is based on 73 interviews and over 300,000 documents.