Tom Cotton: Senate Intelligence Committee Report ‘Puts to Bed’ Claims of Collusion

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks to the media after attending a briefing with administration officials about the situation with Iran, at the U.S. Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. Members of the House and the Senate were briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark …
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) emphasized that the Senate Intelligence Committee found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, after the conclusion of the fifth and final report on its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Tuesday.

“Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a thousand-page report that finally puts to bed claims of collusion, collaboration, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016,” Cotton, a member of the committee, said in a statement.

The nearly 1,000-page report unearthed little new information that was not detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which also found no collusion, cooperation, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The bipartisan report characterized the Trump campaign as open to receiving Russian help. However, five Republican senators, including Cotton, stated clearly in a section titled “Additional Views” that the committee found no collusion (no emphasis added):

Volume 5 exhaustively reviews the counterintelligence threats and vulnerabilities to the 2016 election, but never explicitly states the critical fact: the Committee found no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government in its efforts to meddle in the election.

The additional views, co-authored by fellow committee members Sens. James Risch (ID), Marco Rubio (FL), Roy Blunt (MO), John Cornyn (TX), and Ben Sasse (NE), also added that the Trump campaign backed a policy of improving relations with Moscow that had nothing to do with “collaboration with the Russian Government.”

They also said the Trump administration’s record on Russia shows a consistent attempt to cooperate with Russia where possible, but responding “firmly” to Russia’s nefarious activity worldwide.

They also blasted the FBI’s “sloppy work and poor judgment,” saying:

In 2016, the Democratic Party, using a series of arm’s length transactions, hired a foreign citizen to seek out dirt on a political opponent, provided by foreign sources. This Volume confirms that Christopher Steele used information gained from sources in Russia — some with direct ties to the Russian Government. That unverified, uncorroborated, foreign information was then actively circulated with the press to disparage a U.S. political candidate.

They also noted that the FBI used the material in FISA applications and insisted on its inclusion in the Intelligence Community Assessment. They wrote:

All Americans should be deeply trouble that the FBI was willing to accept and use Steele’s information without verifying its sourcing or methodology.

Cotton called on the committee to now move on from “re-litigating” the 2016 election.

“With this conclusion, SSCI joins the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Department of Justice’s Special Counsel in their assessments,” he said. “It’s now time to shift our focus to the many national-security threats facing our country instead of re-litigating the 2016 election. Just because Russia failed this time doesn’t mean it won’t keep trying.”

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