Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee disagree with the position of every U.S. intelligence agency that Russia wanted Donald Trump to be elected president.
The House Intelligence Committee Republicans said in a short public summary document for a more than 150 page report that they would be, concurring, “with the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] supposed preference for candidate Trump.”
The Office of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was quick to respond.
“The Intelligence Community stands by its January 2017 assessment, ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.’ We will review the HPSCI report findings,” ODNI Spokesman Brian P. Hale sai in a statement.
The Republicans said that while there were Russian “active measures” to undermine the U.S. election in 2016, “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
The full draft report must now undergo a declassification review, the Republicans said. Further, it has not yet been shared with Democratic members of the committee, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif.
“While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch,” Schiff said in a statement responding to the GOP. “By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly.”
“After more than a year, the Committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report. I’d like to thank Congressmen Trey Gowdy, Tom Rooney, and especially Mike Conaway for the excellent job they’ve done leading this investigation. I’d also like to recognize the hard work undertaken by our other Committee members as well as our staff,” House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of California said in a statement.
Nunes added that he hoped the findings could be used to enhance election security. According to the summary, the report will include evidence of a “lackluster” response by the United States to the Russian campaign and the efforts of Putin ahead of Election Day in 2016.
Nunes was officially recused from leading the committee’s work on the Russia meddling probe after going to the White House and telling reporters there he had reviewed “intelligence reports” indicating that members of Trump’s campaign operation had been swept up in foreign surveillance by U.S. spy agencies. The House Ethics Committee eventually looked into the matter.
But Democrats said Nunes was never too far from the investigation and Nunes himself would eventually say he never recused himself of the probe. The Ethics Committee eventually closed its probe of Nunes, saying he did not disclose any classified material and clearing the way for him to return to a more active role in the probe.
Schiff noted that the GOP leadership completed the inquiry without taking steps to compel testimony from Trump campaign advisers like Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks.
“It proved unwilling to subpoena documents like phone records, text messages, bank records and other key records so that we might determine the truth about the most significant attack on our democratic institutions in history. Instead, it began a series of counter-investigations, designed to attack the credibility of the FBI, the Departments of Justice and State, and investigate anyone and anything other than what they were charged to do — investigate Russia’s interference in our election and the role the Trump campaign played,” Schiff said.
The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, which has my all accounts functioned in a far more bipartisan manner, had said they hope to have some recommendations for election security enhancements ahead of 2018 primaries, but that timeline has slipped. Voters in some states have already gone to the polls for primaries.