The House Intelligence Committee released its final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Friday, with the conclusion that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
“The Committee found no evidence that President Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings formed the basis for collusion during the campaign,” the report stated.
“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,” it added.
The report further noted that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee did use Russian sources (including current and former Russian government officials), through a series of intermediaries, to commision the notorious “Trump dossier.”
“The committee also found that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials,” the report stated.
“Some of this opposition research was used to produce sixteen memos, which comprise what has become known as the Steele dossier.”
During the 2016 race, the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid the opposition research firm Fusion GPS through the Washington, D.C. law firm Perkins Coie to produce the dossier, The Washington Post reported.
The dossier was then reportedly passed on to officials in the Justice Department who used it to help obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
While the House Intelligence Committee report found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it did fault the members of the campaign for exercising “poor judgment” in taking a meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016.
“(The) meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer who falsely purported to have damaging information on the Clinton campaign demonstrated poor judgment,” the report explained.
It continued, “The committee also found the Trump campaign’s periodic praise for and communications with WikiLeaks — a hostile foreign organization — to be highly objectionable and inconsistent with U.S. national security interests.”
President Donald Trump responded to the report highlighting its findings of no evidence of collusion concerning his campaign and noting the Clinton campaign’s involvement in funding the dossier. He also called for an end to the Mueller investigation, describing it as “witch hunt.”
“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia,'” Trump wrote.
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
He added, “Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”
The Intelligence Committee report also faulted the FBI for not adequately notifying Russian hacking victims, and the Obama administration for its “post-election response.”
The report included a section on “leaks” by the intelligence community, particularly during the transition after Trump was elected, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who led the probe over the past year, said in a statement, “With the public release of this report, the American people will have the opportunity to access the information used to draw the conclusions found in last month’s findings and recommendations.”
He added that he was “extremely disappointed with the overzealous redactions made by the IC.”
Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., agreed, saying he objected to “the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information.”
Committee ranking member Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff of California, accused the Republicans of not allowing for an adequate investigation.
“Their report, as with their overall conduct of the investigation, is unworthy of this committee, the House of Representatives, and most importantly, the American people, who are now left to try to discern what is true and what is not,” minority Democrats wrote in their response.
NPR reported that both Democrats and Republicans agree that the United States must strengthen its cyber-defenses and improve voting security as the nation looks toward the 2018 midterms and beyond, noting the Russia attempts to interfere in U.S. elections and those of other nations in the West continues.
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