House Republicans vote to release Russia
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[March 23, 2018]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House
Intelligence Committee voted along party lines on Thursday to adopt a
Republican report on the panel's investigation of Russia and the 2016
U.S. election, formally ending a probe marred for months by bitter
The Republican report found no evidence of collusion between President
Donald Trump's campaign and Russian interference. It also disagreed with
intelligence agencies' findings that Moscow sought to boost Trump's
chances of being elected.
Committee Democrats strongly disputed that finding and said they will
continue to investigate and, eventually, release their own dissenting
Representative Adam Schiff, the panel's top Democrat, said Republicans
had declined every Democratic motion during their business meeting,
including requests to subpoena witnesses who refused to answer
questions, and hold an open hearing with chief executives from
technology companies, including Facebook Inc's Mark Zuckerberg.
"The (Republican) majority was not interested in conducting any further
investigation, even when the flaws in what we have done so far have
become so apparent in the course of the last week," Schiff told
There are 13 Republicans and nine Democrats on the House Intelligence
Schiff called the decision to end the investigation "a rather sad
chapter in our Committee’s long history."
The committee's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, said the report was
based on more than 70 witness interviews and the collection of more than
It "will include minority views if the minority submits them," Nunes
said in a statement.
Reports have emerged from whistleblower Christopher Wylie this week that
British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed
Facebook users' information to build profiles on American voters later
used to help elect Trump.
Hidden camera footage on British television showed a company official
criticizing the House committee's interview.
Wylie has agreed to talk to committee Democrats.
A summary of report findings concluded Russia conducted cyber attacks on
U.S. institutions, using social media to undermine the electoral
process. It acknowledged contacts between Trump associates and Russians,
including Russian efforts to set up a "back channel" to communicate
after Trump's election, but said it had not found evidence of collusion.
[to top of second column]
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), (L), and Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) arrive
for a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol
Hill in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P.
Russia denies meddling in the U.S. campaign.
The Republican summary recommended steps to crack down on
intelligence agency leaks, and raised questions about charges facing
Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded
guilty to lying to the FBI.
Several congressional Republicans have been harshly critical of the
Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Also on Thursday, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee, Representative Bob Goodlatte, subpoenaed the Justice
Department for documents related to the investigation of an email
server used by Trump's 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton,
and the recommendation to fire Andrew McCabe, the FBI deputy
director let go last week.
A Justice spokesman said the department takes the committee's
inquiry seriously and is committed to accommodating its request in a
manner consistent with its responsibilities.
The House panel's investigation of how Russia might have sought to
influence the 2016 U.S. election, and whether Trump associates
colluded with Moscow has been marked by partisan disagreements since
it began more than a year ago.
Earlier this year, Republicans and Democrats released dueling memos
about the probe. Nunes was recused for months after a late-night
visit to the White House raised questions about improper
communications with Trump associates.
In contrast, the Senate Intelligence Committee released bipartisan
recommendations on how to improve election security this week and is
continuing its investigation, as is Department of Justice Special
Counsel Robert Mueller.
The probes have shadowed Trump's presidency, and the president has
repeatedly denounced them, and Mueller, leading to concerns he might
fire the special counsel.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Tom Brown and James
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