In a report released by the House Intelligence Committee, congressional investigators affirmed Russian interference in the 2016 election but said they found no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign, while criticizing the work of federal investigators on the issue.
The heavily redacted 253-page report came out of a committee led by Republicans that has been split by party ideology over the course of the year-long investigation.
The committee announced a summary of its findings when it concluded its investigation last month, but the full report released on Friday provides more detail about what led to their decision to clear the Trump campaign from suspicion of wrongdoing.
President Donald Trump on Friday lauded the report and cited it as evidence of his oft-repeated claim that there was “no collusion” between his campaign associates and Russian operatives.
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2018
Despite the conclusion of the House investigation, the report stresses that other investigations are ongoing and may dig up new information. Both special counsel Robert Mueller's probe and the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation are still underway.
The document was only endorsed by Republican members of the committee while Democrats dissented, citing what they say is a compelling reason to believe that there was, in fact, collusion and accusing GOP colleagues of purposely ignoring relevant witnesses who were reluctant to talk, according to Politico.
“To determine whether this evidence of collusion reaches the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal conspiracy, we must await the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, since the Majority refused to interview the witnesses and obtain the documents necessary to find out,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee.
Included in the report are criticisms of the U.S. intelligence community over its shortcomings in its investigation over whether Russian influence was designed to benefit the Trump campaign, claims that sparked outrage among Democrats who see it as another attempt to discredit federal investigators working on the Russia probe.
The report argues that associates of the Clinton campaign also used “research from numerous purported Russian sources” to dig up dirt on then-candidate Trump.
Members of the committee also acknowledged that “the Executive Branch's response fell short of deterring the Russians from conducting such activity in the future,” and provided recommendations to prevent another instance of Russian meddling in upcoming elections.
According to Politico, Rep. Mike Conway (R-Texas), who led the committee's Russia investigation, promised to work with intelligence agencies to release a version of the report with fewer redactions, arguing that “I don’t believe the information we’re releasing today meets that standard” of transparency.
While the House report works in Trump's favor, Democrats have made it clear that they aren't buying it as many wait for additional developments in the Mueller probe even as the president attacks it as a “Witch Hunt.”