No evidence of Russia-Trump collusion: House Republicans

| | Washington

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have concluded that there is no evidence to support the contention that President Donald Trump or anyone affiliated with his campaign colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 White House race in his favour.

President Trump lost little time to hail the conclusion, while the Democrats rejected it outright and slammed the Republicans controlling the panel for moving to end the probe prematurely.

“We found no evidence of collusion,” Congressman Michael Conaway, who oversees the Russia probe, told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled release of a 150-page draft report to the Democrats for review.

“We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings — but only Tom Clancy could take this series of inadvertent contacts, meetings, whatever, and weave that into some sort of a spy thriller that could go out there,” Conway said.

Rejecting the assertions, Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, called the move to end the probe a “tragic milestone” and a “capitulation to the executive branch”.

“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,” Schiff commented.

Trump took to Twitter to capitalize on the news, saying: “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.”

“We’re very happy with the decision by the House intelligence committee saying there’s absolutely no collusion with respect to Russia,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, calling it “a very powerful decision, a very strong decision”.

“I understand they're going to be releasing hundreds of pages of proof and evidence – but we are very, very happy with that decision. It was a powerful decision that left no doubt, so I want to thank the House intelligence committee and all of the people that voted,”

Trump said.

In contrast to the assertions by Trump and House Republicans, Schiff contended that the evidence “is clear and overwhelming that the Intelligence Community Assessment (of Russian meddling) was correct”.

“If the Russians do have leverage over the President of the United States, the Majority has simply decided it would rather not know,” Schiff said.



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