While special counsel Robert Mueller’s work may seem to be reaching a boiling point, the House Intelligence Committee have thrown in the towel, as far as their part in the Russia probe.
On Monday evening, they released their findings.
“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the committee said in a one-page summary of its findings released Monday afternoon.
They also decided to give the president and the MAGAdooks a bit of ammunition in their fight to discredit the nation’s intelligence community.
In addition, the committee took issue with the Intelligence Community assessment of Russian motivations in the 2016 election. The committee agrees with the assessment that the Russians did, in fact, try to interfere — the findings cite “Russian cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions in 2015-2016 and their use of social media to sow discord.” But the committee disagrees with the Intelligence Community judgment that Russian leader Vladimir Putin specifically tried to help Donald Trump win the election.
Rep. Mike Conway said that they found bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, and inappropriate judgment in taking meetings, but no actual collusion.
In other words, the Trump train was staffed by idiots.
Speaking of idiots…
“But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings, whatever, and weave that into a some sort of fictional page-turner spy thriller,” Conaway continued. “But we’re not dealing with fiction, we’re dealing with facts. And we found no evidence of any collusion, of anything that people were actually doing, other than taking a meeting they shouldn’t have taken or inadvertently being in the same building.”
Yes, we can assume he’s talking about Donald Trump Jr. and the Trump Tower meeting with Russians.
The findings and release were led by Chairman Devin Nunes – a rabid Trump loyalist – and passed along very partisan lines, so expect to hear contradictory comments from Democrats.
On the question of Putin’s motivation, Conaway said Republican investigators viewed the same intelligence that the Intelligence Community did in making its assessment. But they differed with the IC, not on the fact that Russia acted, but on Vladimir Putin’s purposes.
“It was clear that he was sowing discord in our elections,” Conaway said, “pitting one American against another, tried to influence it through social media and other things. But we couldn’t establish the same conclusion that the CIA did that they specifically wanted to help Trump.”
Republicans released the findings in bullet-point form. They were condensed from a larger report that will not be made public for several weeks.
Nunes has been working to undermine, and ultimately shut down the investigation from the very beginning, even consulting with the White House early on, attempting to present a case for stopping it before it started.
Ultimately, he was unsuccessful, but he and some fellow Republicans have worked overtime to discredit the investigation.
Said Nunes after today’s announcement:
“After more than a year, the committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report. I’d like to thank Congressmen Trey Gowdy, Tom Rooney, and especially Mike Conaway for the excellent job they’ve done leading this investigation,” Nunes said in a statement. “I’d also like to recognize the hard work undertaken by our other committee members as well as our staff. Once the committee’s final report is issued, we hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections.”
While House Intel may be tapping out, the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Robert Mueller’s team continues, for the time being.