Intelligence agency stands by view of election


In recent days, several Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee had been openly calling to bring the investigation to a close, frustrated by the ceaseless tension on the panel, leaks from witness interviews and a climate of mistrust that had harmed the committee's historical ability to function in a bipartisan way.

"The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in '16, and we think they will do that in the future", Rep. Mike Conaway, Texas Republican and one of the probe's leaders, said late Monday on Capitol Hill. "We found no evidence of any collusion of anything people were actually doing, other than taking a meeting they shouldn't have taken or just inadvertently being in the same building".

Democrats countered that the inquiry was far from over and insisted that more issues required clarification, hammering Republicans for failing to use subpoenas to push recent witnesses to answer questions they charged were central to the investigation.

Democrats on the panel are expected to release their own report.

Conaway, for instance, said the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior campaign officials and a Russian lawyer where dirt on Clinton was promised was "ill advised".

"We found no evidence of collusion", Mr. Conaway said.

The Intelligence Committee did find, however, that Russian Federation took active measures to meddle in the 2016 election, and that the majority expects it to undertake similar measures again. The Senate panel is expected to issue findings on the more controversial issue of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation at a later date. This contradicts earlier findings from US intelligence agencies.

Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas says the panel's GOP members don't accept the finding that Russian Federation sought to help Trump.

The House Republicans said they had already completed a draft version of what they said would eventually be the committee's final report on the investigation.

The investigation had made little forward progress since December, committee members said.

Republicans are expected to assert that collusion did not occur, according to CNN.

Trump took to Twitter to note the announcement, typing in all capital letters, that the House committee had found no evidence of collusion or coordination after a 14-month-long "in-depth 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 has been crippled by partisan division for months, as GOP members accused Democrats of trying to malign Trump without adequate evidence and Democrats accused the GOP of trying to undermine Mueller's investigation. After the committee votes to adopt it - likely with Republicans having a majority on the panel - it will be submitted for a declassification review.

Mr. Conaway said the panel interviewed more than 70 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents. The House Ethics Committee eventually looked into the matter.

The finding is sure to please the White House and enrage panel Democrats who have not yet seen the document.

There are still two committees in the Senate that are investigating Russia's 2016 election meddling: the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.