Yesterday afternoon Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX), who led the investigation after chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) recused himself, announced that the House Intelligence Committee is ending its investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election. The Democrats on the committee were not informed about the announcement. They found out about it like the rest of us.
The GOP issued one page summary of the report which only partially agrees with the intelligence community that the Russians interfered with the election. They contest the IC assessment that the Russians favored Trump (pdf) or that the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Russians. Basically, the GOP report is a whitewash of the investigation and a blatantly desperate attempt to exonerate Donald Trump and his campaign cohorts ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections.
House Republicans investigating foreign interference in the 2016 election say they have found no evidence that Russians colluded with any members of the Trump campaign and dispute a key finding from the intelligence community that Russia had developed a preference for the Republican nominee during the election.
Those are the initial conclusions of a 150-page report from GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are formally bringing the panel’s year-long investigation to an end over the fierce objection of Democrats.
Lawmakers had been telegraphing that last week’s committee interview with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was likely to be the last of dozens conducted since the committee launched its Russia probe last March. [..]
But the news that majority party staffers had already drafted a final report so quickly was likely to stun committee Democrats who expected to be consulted in the process. [..]
After speaking with 73 witnesses and reviewing more than 300,000 pages of documents, Conaway said there was an urgent need to begin making their recommendations known to the public because Americans have already begun voting in midterm elections. And he denied that any of the initial conclusions by the GOP members represented an effort to undermine the work of the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller. [..]
The report will include an assessment of the June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., and Russians with ties to the Kremlin, concluding that nothing discussed represented collusion. [..]
A January 2017 assessment from intelligence agencies found with “high confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government expressed a “clear preference” for Donald Trump in the campaign, and sought to influence the election on his behalf as part of Putin’s “longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order.”
Conaway and other committee officials said that after an exhaustive review of the thousands of source documents that went into developing that assessment, they largely agreed with its findings but with a major caveat: Information suggesting a “clear preference” by Putin for Trump did not meet the analytical standards required to support the assessment.
The report will go further and suggest that to the extent that any Russians acted on behalf of either candidate, it was for Hillary Clinton. That contentious finding is included in the context of discussing the role of the Christopher Steele dossier that was compiled on behalf of an opposition research firm contracted by a law firm connected to the DNC and the Clinton campaign. [..]
Among some of the other 40 initial findings:
- Russians used cyberattacks and social media to sow discord in the U.S.
- The Obama administration had a “lackluster” response to the Russian efforts.
- There were “problematic contacts” between senior intelligence officials and the news media.
The draft report includes 25 proposed recommendations for Congress and the executive branch related to election security, supporting European allies, the government response to cyberattacks, campaign finance transparency and counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns.
CNN contributor and former CIA analyst Phil Mudd had the best analysis of the GOP report. He concluded “if this report was written on toilet paper I would wipe my ass with it.”
The report is an obvious partisan whitewash that attempts to shift the blame for Russian interference to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the DNC. The Senate Intelligence Committee will continue its investigation and is calling more witnesses next week. Meanwhile. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team will continue calling witnesses and gathering evidence not only for an obstruction case but possibly a case for conspiracy by Trump and his gang of misfits.
The upcoming mid-term elections are expected to shift control of the House into Democratic hands. The House will lose some of its worst clowns like Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-GA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) who are retiring. We may also see the House cleaned of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Trump House boy Rep. Devin Nunes, along with Putin’s favorite congressman, Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA). One would truly expect that if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the current ranking member, becomes the chair, he will reopen this investigation and start issuing subpoenas to get real answers. These guys are running scared.
You can read the GOP summary report after the jump