US House Republicans find no proof of Trump-Russia collusion

Trump’s onetime campaign manager was the House committee’s final interview. Credit Tasos Katopodis

House Intelligence Committee Republicans say the panel has finished conducting interviews in its investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 U.S. election, and found no collusion between President Donald Trump's associates and Moscow's efforts to influence the campaign.

Although the committee interviewed prominent people in Trump's circle, like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, it was unable to secure an interview with the president himself.

The committee's GOP leaders announced their decision on Monday, adding that they plan to release a report soon on their findings.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, another top Republican on the intelligence committee, told reporters that meetings and other contacts between people on the Trump campaign and Russians might have been ill-advised at the time but did not add up to an global conspiracy to throw the election. Conaway told reporters that he would give committee Democrats the report on Tuesday for their comments, suggestions and proposed changes, which he would take under advisement before presenting it to the intelligence community for redactions.

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. He noted that the worst the panel uncovered was "perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings" - such as a June 2016 gathering at Trump Tower in New York City between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer. But did anything untoward happen? Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee disagree with the position of every US intelligence agency that Russian Federation wanted Donald Trump to be elected president.

Democrats on the Republican-controlled committee will likely issue a competing report, CNN reported.

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.

"We found no evidence of collusion. There [were] some cutouts, so to speak". The agencies have repeatedly asserted support for those findings, even as Trump's appointees took the helm.

The Obama administration had a "lackluster" response to the Russian efforts. Nader has been the subject of two front-page New York Times stories linking him to a secret post-election meeting between Trump and Russian officials.

The committee has been crippled by partisan division for months, as GOP members accused Democrats of trying to malign Trump without adequate evidence and Democrats accused the GOP of trying to undermine Mueller's investigation. Though Conaway had suggested in December that he hoped to align his committee's factual findings with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation, a source familiar with the inquiries said no meetings had occurred.

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