Thursday, March 22, 2018

House intel clears Trump in Russia probe, votes to release final report

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on March 22, 2018 (Photo: Twitter/Melania Trump)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on March 22, 2018 (Photo: Twitter/Melania Trump)

There’s no evidence of Trump campaign “collusion, coordination or conspiracy” with the Russians, says the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which voted to end its investigation Thursday.

There’s also “no evidence that Trump associates were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related emails,” the committee said in a summary of its findings that clears Trump’s team of wrongdoing during the election.

The committee voted to release its full report to the public after the intelligence community has a chance to review it.

“Last January, we set out to investigate Russian active measures during the 2016 election. Today, we are one step closer to delivering answers to the questions the American people have been asking for over a year,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who has led the probe since last April, told Fox News Thursday.

Just a week ago, the committee revealed that they found “no evidence of collusion” and said there’s no basis for claims from figures in the intelligence community who said Russian President Vladimir Putin has a “supposed preference” for Donald Trump during the election.

Democrats claim the Republicans have “prematurely” ended the committee’s Russia investigation.

The report’s findings and recommendations do reveal “a pattern of Russian active measures” through cyberattacks and social-media campaigns to “sow discord” in the U.S.

The committee released a summary of its classified report, which included the following key findings concerning alleged Trump campaign links with Russia:

  • Finding #25: When asked directly, none of the interviewed witnesses provided evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
  • Finding #26: The Committee found no evidence that President Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings formed the basis for collusion during the campaign.
  • Finding #27: The Republican national security establishment’s opposition to candidate Trump created opportunities for two less-experienced individuals with pro-Russia views to serve as campaign advisors: George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.
  • Finding #28: The change in the Republican Party platform regarding Ukraine resulted in a stronger position against Russia, not a weaker one, and there is no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved.
  • Finding #29: there is no evidence that Trump associates were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related emails, although Trump associates had numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks.
  • Finding #30: Carter Page did not travel to Moscow in July 2016 on behalf of the Trump campaign, but the Committee is concerned about his seemingly incomplete accounts of his activity in Moscow.
  • Finding #31: George Papadopolous’ attempts to leverage his Russian contacts to facilitate meetings between the Trump campaign and Russians was unsuccessful.
  • Finding #32: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort attended a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower where they expected to receive – but did not ultimately obtain – derogatory information on candidate Clinton from Russian sources.
  • Finding #33: Donald Trump Jr. briefly met with a Russian government official at the 2016 National Rife Association annual meeting, but the Committee found no evidence that the two discussed the U.S. presidential election.
  • Finding #34: The Committee found no evidence that meetings between Trump associates – including Jeff Sessions – and official representatives of the Russian government – including Ambassador Kislyak – reflected collusion, coordination, or conspiracy with the Russian government.
  • Finding #35: possible Russian efforts to set up a “back channel” with Trump associates after the election suggest the absence of collusion during the campaign. since the communication associated with collusion would have rendered such a “back channel” unnecessary.
  • Finding #36: prior to conducting opposition research targeting candidate Trump’s business dealings, Fusion GPS conducted research benefitting (sic) Russian interests.
  • Finding #37: The law firm Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to research Trump’s Russia ties.
  • Finding #38: Christopher Steele claims to have obtained his dossier information second- and third-hand from purported high-placed Russian sources, such as government officials with links to the Kremlin and intelligence services.
  • Finding #39: Christopher Steele’s information from Russian sources was provided directly to Fusion GPS and Perkins Coie and indirectly to the Clinton campaign.

Developing …