GOP Shuts Down House Russia Probe, Finds No Evidence Of Collusion

Dean Simpson
March 13, 2018

Texas Rep. Mike Conaway led the investigation.

But not every Republican agreed.

Conclusions reached by the Republicans in their draft report represent a break with the USA intelligence community, which determined in January 2017 that part of the Kremlin's strategy was to help Trump's chances of winning.

The report signalled a move by Republicans on the deeply divided panel to end their year-old investigation, even as committee Democrats, who had yet to see the report, say they need to interview more witnesses.

Schiff also said the committee's work was far from complete.

The decision was met with sharp criticism from Democrats, who maintain that there are still scores of witnesses the committee should call, and argue that Republicans have failed to use subpoenas to obtain documents and require witnesses to answer questions that are central to the investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller's independent probe, meanwhile, continues to expand.

"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 said in a statement.

Trump's onetime campaign manager, was the House committee's final interview.

Republicans, though, have argued that Democrats are stringing the investigation along to generate harmful headlines about members of the Trump team amid accusations they courted Russian help during the campaign.

The committee has been crippled by partisan division for months, as Republican members accused Democrats of trying to malign Trump without adequate evidence and Democrats accused them of trying to undermine Mueller's investigation.

"We have learned a great deal about countless secret meetings, conversations and communications between Trump campaign officials and the Russians, all of which the Trump Administration initially denied", he added.

The committee's partisan split grew deeper in February, when Republicans released the "Nunes memo" alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department abused their surveillance authority to target Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting on trade with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018.

Schiff said publishing conclusions exonerating the Trump campaign even as several former Trump officials have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to charges related to the Russian Federation investigation amounts to "capitulation" under pressure from the White House. Schiff says Republicans "walked away" from that responsibility.

"There's opportunity for this investigation to go on forever, if in fact you don't want to come to any conclusions.if you want to make hay in the run up to the election", Conaway told the Reuters news agency.

Committee Democrats had no immediate response to the announcement, which was expected.

The GOP findings are being released without Democratic input.

Mr. Conaway said the panel interviewed more than 70 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents.

Conaway said he hoped to work with Schiff on the probe but Democrats are expected to release their own report.

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