Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their concluding report on the Russia investigation, prompting Democrats to respond with a 98-page reply criticizing their findings.
The Republicans report stated that they “found no evidence” of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
The Democrats, however, have accused their colleagues of abruptly ending the probe, distorting the facts, and failing to follow up on investigative leads, Mother Jones reports.
“A majority of the report’s findings are misleading and unsupported by the facts and the investigative record,” the Democrats’ report stated. “They 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.”
The House Intelligence Committee Republicans found that the Trump campaign had “ill-advised” contacts with Wikileaks but suggested they were equivalent to alleged contacts between the Hillary Clinton campaign and Russia.
The Democrats’ report detailed the areas in which they feel the Republicans’ investigation failed, including an accusation that they hindered the investigation by restricting the committee’s document requests.
“Despite repeated entreaties, the Majority refused follow-up document requests informed by new information and leads,” the report explained. “For instance, the Committee has not received from the Trump campaign and transition all correspondence to and from George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and other key persons of interest, thereby making it impossible to determine whether the Committee has reviewed the complete universe of relevant correspondence.”
The Democrats also argued that their GOP colleagues’ report minimized the effect of social media-based Russian propaganda in helping Trump’s campaign efforts. While the GOP report acknowledged the Russian disinformation campaign, it ultimately downplayed its impact.
“In a final effort to obscure Russia’s social media operation in support of Trump, the Majority report argues that ‘Russian malign influence activities on Facebook were significant but they were not well-funded or large-scale operations relative to the overall scope of election-related activity on these platforms.’ In its February 16, 2018 indictment, the Special Counsel revealed that the IRA’s operation was in fact well-funded and organized. The Committee, moreover, was unable to fully investigate and determine the financial backing, scope, and reach of Russia’s covert effort,” the report said.
It should be noted that the GOP report wasn't well-received on social media, either. Many Twitter users expressed dissatisfaction in the outcome of the GOP's investigation and accused them of halfheartedly probing the issue to protect the president. There were also concerns over the amount of redacted information there was in the report.
3 of the 4 or 5 people first investigated have been charged but we're going to keep THOSE 3 names redacted bc... pic.twitter.com/HXW5CbfZ7m— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 27, 2018
“Attribution is a bear” - the only unredacted words on this page of the House Russia report pic.twitter.com/wLyVW33OFb— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) April 27, 2018
I'm going to go out on a limb and say the editing and preparation of the HPSCI report on Russia and the election could have been more careful https://t.co/NvLyaungKh— David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA) April 27, 2018
So Republicans House Intel committee call Trump jr meeting “unfortunate” but uses intelligence tradecraft terms to accuse Clinton team taking over a Republican oppo research described as “cutouts” to “obscure” sources involving Russian sources? But Wikileaks ok? Dispicable. pic.twitter.com/sZrYRl4RBx— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) April 27, 2018
You left out “the highly-partisan House Intelligence Committee...” https://t.co/mB4kxcFsyK— Jeremy Hubbard (@JeremyHubbard) April 27, 2018
We all know that the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Devin #AccessoryAfterTheFact Nunes, halted their investigation with at least 30 witnesses yet to be interviewed, including representatives of Cambridge Analytica.https://t.co/Qe3PNRTwvT— Tom Shafer (@TomShafShafer) April 27, 2018
If you thought the House Intelligence Committee report was going to be anything other than what it was, then IDK what to tell you.— 🏳️🌈Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) April 27, 2018
Despite all of the hoopla surrounding the GOP's assessment, several people noted that special counsel Robert Mueller's final report is the only one that should be trusted as noted back in March by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina).
Important— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) March 18, 2018
Gowdy admits Americans should not trust House Intel Comm review of Russia collusion—should trust Mueller instead:
House Commtee is “what you should NOT have confidence in. Have confidence in the Exec Branch investigations and if Mueller finds stuff, more power to him” pic.twitter.com/5bPEQ2negq
As @realDonaldTrump touts the House Intel Committee's report as vindication, an important reminder of what @TGowdySC -- a GOP member of that committee -- said in March: Trust the special counsel's report, not partisan House Intel findings. https://t.co/vvixIJizfx pic.twitter.com/LZyFcE2LN4— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 27, 2018
"Finding #29: There is no evidence that Trump associates were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related e-mails, although Trump associates had numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks."— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) April 27, 2018
Mueller will decide if those contacts were criminal.
Trump may already be proclaiming his innocence based on the GOP's so-called findings and continuing to label the investigation a "witch hunt."
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2018
But the probe is far from over until Mueller presents his conclusion.
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