WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a redacted version of their final report from a year-long probe into Russia’s “multifaceted” influence operation, generally clearing President Trump and his associates of wrongdoing while accusing the intelligence community and the FBI of failures in how they assessed and responded to the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election.

The report accuses the intelligence community of “significant intelligence tradecraft failings,” suggesting that Russia’s main goal was to sow discord in the United States and not to help Trump win the election. It says investigators found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government” – even as it details contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians or Russian intermediaries.

Trump seized on the report to call for an end to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s criminal investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russia.

“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. ‘No evidence’ that the Trump Campaign ‘colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia,’ ” Trump wrote. “Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”

But committee Democrats quickly charged that their Republican colleagues had rushed to end their work prematurely in a “a systematic effort to muddy the waters and to deflect attention away from the President.”

They released nearly 100 pages of their own findings, asserting that Russian intelligence “used intermediaries and cutouts to probe, establish contact, and possibly glean valuable information from a diverse set of actors associated with President Trump and his campaign,” though more work needed to be done to determine whether and to what extent they were aware of or helped that effort.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Republican document demonstrates “the Majority’s fundamentally flawed approach to the investigation and the superficial and political nature of its conclusions.”

Collectively, the reports offered little in the way of new information but gave each political party ammunition to support their long held arguments about how Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Mueller’s probe, which is still ongoing, is thought to be far more revelatory, as he has law enforcement powers and far more investigative resources. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also pursuing its own investigation, which has been marked by far less partisanship than the one in the House.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., walks with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., also a member of the Intelligence Committee, at the Capitol in Washington. The Republican-led House intelligence committee has declared an end to its Russia probe, saying in a final report that it found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe took on the character of a boxing ring over the past year, as Republicans and Democrats repeatedly came to blows over whether Republican leaders were trying to end the investigation to paint the president in the most flattering possible light.

The committee is led by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., one of Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress and a former adviser to Trump’s transition team. Nunes was forced to step down from involvement in large portions of the investigation while he was under an ethics probe that cleared him of wrongdoing.

The Republican report criticizes both the Trump and Clinton campaigns for “poor judgment and ill-considered actions,” such as Trump campaign officials’ decision to meet with a Russian lawyer offering compromising information on Hillary Clinton in Trump Tower in June 2016. It also criticizes the Obama administration for a “slow and inconsistent” response to mounting Russian threats.

The report takes particular aim at the FBI and intelligence community, for failing to appropriately assess Russia’s intent and failing to notify the Trump campaign of possible threats in their midst.

The report asserts that while intelligence officials had concerns about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in early 2016, the FBI did not give campaign officials a defensive briefing to alert them.

“The FBI did not provide any such warning about Page, although it was again discussed by the administration’s most senior policymakers after [then-FBI] Director [James] Comey briefed the National Security Council principals about the Page information in ‘late spring’ 2016,” the report says, citing an interview with former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch.

The report says the intelligence community also did not warn the campaign of the Russian ties of other aides, including George Papadopoulos, who has admitted to lying to the FBI about his campaign outreach to the Kremlin.

The report makes an extensive case that allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin are unfounded. It devotes an entire chapter to alleged campaign links with Russia, and attempts to knock down many of the most damaging claims against the campaign or minimize the significance of the well-established interactions.

For instance, the report says that a meeting the candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr., organized with a Russian lawyer and other key campaign advisers in June 2016 showed that he was “open to discussing derogatory information” about Democrat Hillary Clinton, including material potentially provided by the Russian government.

But the report concludes that there is no evidence any such material was provided, and says that a music promoter testified that he made up the claim about having damaging Clinton information to get the meeting.

The report concludes that the Russians found “willing interlocutors” in Page and Papadopoulos, two previously unknown aides named to the campaign because Trump had trouble recruiting from the Republican national security establishment, the committee found. But the report asserts that the two were “peripheral figures” and neither was “in a position to influence Trump or his campaign.”

The report also says there is no evidence that Trump confidante Roger Stone and others who publicly suggested advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked emails before the election actually had such knowledge.

However, the Republicans released a previously undisclosed email from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn on July 15, 2016, in which he wrote, “There are a number of things happening (and will happen) this election via cyber operations (by both hacktivists, nation states and the DNC).”

The email came after news the DNC had been hacked and had been made public but before WikiLeaks had released those emails publicly on July 22. Committee Republicans concluded the email did “not necessarily indicate non-public knowledge.”

The report says that there is no evidence that Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings paved the way for election help from Russia, even though Trump’s financial dealings appear to remain under investigation by the special counsel. It also asserts that apparent efforts by the campaign and Russia to set up a “back channel” after the election were, counterintuitively, evidence that there was not earlier collusion.

The report disparages the infamous “dossier” compiled by a former British spy as full of “second and third-hand” information, and claims that the file was then used to justify putting Trump campaign associates under surveillance – an assertion vehemently disputed by the FBI. And it all but accuses intelligence officials of deliberately leaking damaging information about Trump to the media before and after the election. It devotes little attention to Trump’s often inconstant explanations of events, while accusing then-Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. of providing inconsistent testimony to the committee about his contacts with the media.

Much of the report’s section on intelligence leaks is redacted, so it is unclear exactly how they reached those conclusions, but the committee does single out reports by The Washington Post, New York Times, NBC and CNN as among those that raised concerns.

“Continued leaks of classified information have damaged national security and potentially endangered lives,” the report says, followed by several redacted paragraphs.

The Republican report also urges Congress to consider rescinding the Logan Act, the law that prohibits American citizens from undercutting the U.S. government by engaging in unauthorized negotiations with foreign leaders. It is the law that Flynn was suspected of possibly violating in his interactions with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, though the report curiously asserts agents “did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.”

The Democrats rebuttal, meanwhile, excoriates “a majority” of the Republican report’s conclusions as “misleading and unsupported by the facts and the investigative record.”

The Republicans’ findings, Democrats charged, “have been crafted to advance a political narrative that exonerates the President, downplays Russia’s preference and support for then-candidate Trump, explains away repeated contacts by Trump associates with Russia-aligned actors, and seeks to shift suspicion towards President Trump’s political opponents and the prior administration.” They said they intended to continue their own work, exploring, among other things, financial dealings and efforts by Trump to interfere with the special counsel investigation.

“Congress has an obligation to find out the truth and inform the American people,” the Democrats said in their report. “To the best of our ability, we will continue to do so, until such time as the full Congress once again lives up to its oversight responsibilities.”


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