April 27 (UPI) — The House intelligence committee concluded Friday there’s no evidence President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The heavily redacted 253-page report restates conclusions it made last month.
“The committee found no evidence that President Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings formed the basis for collusion during the campaign,” the panel report said. “The committee found no evidence that meetings between Trump associates, including [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, and official representatives of the Russian government, including Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak, reflected collusion, coordination or conspiracy with the Russian government.”
The committee did, however, find fault with the presidential campaigns of both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton — criticizing “poor judgement and ill-considered actions” in each campaign, including the Trump team’s “periodic praise for, and communications with, WikiLeaks, a hostile foreign organization.”
The report faulted Clinton’s team for hiring Fusion GPS to conduct research on Trump for what later became known as the “Steele dossier” — which alleged Trump ties to Russia.
Ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the committee ended its investigation prematurely last month and promised the probe will continue — with or without Republican involvement.
Schiff said significant changes were made to the report between March and this week. He also said the committee’s initial belief was that Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no preference for Trump or Clinton in the presidential race.
By the time the final report was drafted, Schiff said, the GOP majority on the committee “could no longer defend this claim and watered down its findings.”
Trump immediately celebrated the report’s findings.
“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.,;: he tweeted. “Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia. Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”
Schiff quickly responded.
“Mr. President, to conclude there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion, you must ignore Russia’s extensive efforts to help your campaign, the litany of communications between Russia & your campaign, & the massive effort to conceal these contacts,” Schiff said in a tweet.
Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, who led the investigation, said Friday he’s disappointed by how much the report was redacted, or blacked out.
“I am extremely disappointed with the overzealous redactions made by the [intelligence community],” he said. “Many of the redactions include information that is publicly available, such as witness names and information previously declassified.”
Two other U.S. investigations into Russian interference are ongoing, one in the Senate and another at the Justice Department.
House Report (PDF)
House Report (Text)