- Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee will release a report of their own on the committee’s Russia investigation, according to Rep. Adam Schiff.
- Republicans released a draft report on the investigation on Monday in which they claimed they had found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
- The Democrats, however, claim that they have found “ample” evidence.
- One Republican on the committee said his party had “gone completely off the rails” with regard to the investigation.
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Following the release of the draft report authored by House Intelligence Committee Republicans that seemed to exonerate President Donald Trump of colluding with Russians during the 2016 election, ranking member of the committee Rep. Adam Schiff said he and his Democratic colleagues will release a report that contradicts that conclusion, The Washington Post reported.
Schiff contradicted his Republican colleagues in an interview with The Post, blasting them for allegedly ignoring facts, failing to press witnesses on key details, and not taking the investigation seriously.
“There’s no way for them to reach the conclusions that they want to start with unless they ignore or mischaracterize what we’ve been able to learn,” Schiff said, and added that the Democrats’ report will “set out the investigative steps that were never taken to answer further questions about the Russians and the Trump campaign’s conduct.”
Schiff claimed on Monday night that the Republicans’ report was a “capitulation to the executive branch,” and said last month that the committee had in fact found “ample evidence” of collusion.
The executive branch certainly seemed to approve of the Republicans’ conclusions, as Trump himself wasted no time jumping on the Republicans’ draft report on Monday night.
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Partisanship over investigative rigour
The impasse over the final report in the committee’s investigation reflects the deep partisanship that has afflicted the committee over the past few months, and the likely release of two final reports rather than a single one mirrors the memo controversy that shook the committee last month.
After Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes released a controversial memo that alleged misconduct at the FBI and Justice Department with regard to the approval of a surveillance warrant application for one of Trump’s former associates, Schiff and the committee’s Democrats released a competing memo that sought to lay out how misleading and selective Nunes’s claims were.
This time, it seems a similar showdown will take place, with Democrats pledging to poke holes in the Republicans’ assessment of the information the committee has been gathering on Trump’s ties to Russia.
Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican on the committee, defended his party’s report on Monday.
“We think we have the evidence that we need now to come to the conclusion that we came to,” Conaway said.
But another Republican on the body, Rep. Tom Rooney, had a radically different assessment of his party’s research.
“We have gone completely off the rails, and now we’re basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day’s news,” he told CNN. “We have lost all credibility and we’re going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately. So in that regard, that’s why I called for the investigation to end.”
While the House Intelligence Committee has concluded its probe, the Russia-related investigation led by the special counsel Robert Mueller is likely continue for at least several more months, as Mueller finishes the obstruction-of-justice portion of his inquiry and moves to finish other parts. That includes looking into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia and any possible role his business dealings played in the campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating Russian election meddling.
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