Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a Republican report from Congress proved his claim that his 2016 election campaign did not collude with Russians.
“We’re very happy with the decision by the House Intelligence Committee saying there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Russia,” Trump said early Tuesday.
“We are very, very happy with that decision. It was a powerful decision that left no doubt,” Trump said.
On Monday, the committee’s Republicans finalized their report on their year-long investigation, saying they saw no evidence of cooperation between the campaign and Moscow.
“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” they said in a summary of their report.
Saying they were wrapping up the probe, the panel also rejected the notion that Moscow had specifically attempted to boost Trump’s White House effort, a conclusion reached by the country’s top intelligence officials in January 2017.
Democrats on the polarized committee immediately objected to the findings, saying there were signs of collusion and that they still had numerous witnesses to interview.
Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the panel, said the move to end the investigation came under pressure from the White House. Committee chairman Devin Nunes has been a close supporter of Trump.
The move to end the probe is “another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch,” Schiff said in a statement.
“We have learned a great deal about countless secret meetings, conversations and communications between Trump campaign officials and the Russians, all of which the Trump Administration initially denied,” he added.
“If the Russians do have leverage over the president of the United States, the majority has simply decided it would rather not know.”
The Trump campaign remains under investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee where the two parties are cooperating more closely, and by Justice Department special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Mueller’s is the most important of the probes: he has a strong team of investigators, and has already indicted several former top Trump aides.
But he has yet to declare whether he has strong evidence of collusion.
Mueller is also investigating whether Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation, and is said to be discussing with White House lawyers whether the president himself will agree to be interviewed.