Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that they found no evidence of the Trump administration colluding with Russia beyond “taking a meeting they shouldn't have taken or just inadvertently being in the same building." Democrats were not consulted before the announcement, which contradicts some of the conclusions made within the intelligence community.
"We found no evidence of collusion, and so we found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings," Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who led the investigation, told CNN. "We found no evidence of any collusion of anything people were actually doing, other than taking a meeting they shouldn't have taken or just inadvertently being in the same building."
The committee, chaired by vocal Trump supporter Rep. Devin Nunes of California, authored the draft report, is already being met with scorn from Democrats.
In a statement, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California criticized the Republicans for ending the investigation, calling it “yet another capitulation to the executive branch.”
“By ending its role in the only investigation authorized 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 said.
Republicans on the committee agreed with 98 percent of what American intelligence agencies had concluded about Russia having meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But in a departure from those reports, they deny there’s any evidence to show that Russians tried to boost Trump.
“The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future,” Conaway said, according to the New York Times. But he dismissed the commonly-held conclusion that those active measures were aimed at electing Trump.
“We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump,” he added.
Conaway said a 150-page draft report will be given to Democrats to review, after which intelligence agencies will sift through and decide what can be made public. The report was based on interviews with 73 witnesses and about 300,000 pages of documents, according to CNN.
The draft report will likely be met with the same vehement objection Democrats had to the Nunes memo, a largely debunked report in which Republicans on the committee accused the FBI and the Justice Department of surveillance abuses under the Obama administration.
The Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees are still investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as is special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, walks away from a meeting with House GOP members, on Capitol Hill January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)