Tuesday, March 13, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised a draft Republican report from the House intelligence committee that says there was no collusion or coordination between his campaign and Russia, thanking the panel for their conclusion.
After a yearlong investigation into Russian meddling, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway announced Monday that the committee has finished interviewing witnesses and that Republicans have already completed a draft report saying there is no evidence of collusion. They are expected to share the document with Democrats for the first time on Tuesday.
Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe, one of several investigations on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
The finding enraged Democrats who say Republicans are protecting the president by cutting the probe short. But it thrilled Trump, who told reporters Tuesday morning that the White House is "very, very happy" with the GOP conclusions.
"It was a powerful decision that left no doubt and I want to thank the House intelligence committee," Trump said.
Conaway previewed some of the report's findings on Monday, but said the public will not see the full document until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with far different conclusions.
"We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters, suggesting that those who believe there was collusion are reading too many spy novels. "We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings. But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page-turner, spy thriller."
In addition to the statement on coordination with Russians, the draft challenges an assessment made after the 2016 election that Russian meddling was an effort to help Trump. The January 2017 assessment revealed that the FBI, CIA and NSA had concluded that the Russian government, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, waged a covert influence campaign to interfere in the election with the goal of hurting Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy and helping Trump's campaign.
Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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