Tyler Durden–In a surprise announcement, Republican Rep. Mike Conway – who has been overseeing the committee’s probe into whether or not Trump and his associates colluded with Russia – said that the committee is closing its probe with the conclusion that there was no collusion, as President Trump has insisted all along:
- US HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE ENDING INTERVIEW PHASE OF TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION, SENIOR REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE MEMBER CONAWAY SAYS IN FOX NEWS CHANNEL INTERVIEW
- SENIOR HOUSE INTELLIGENCE REPUBLICAN SAYS PANEL FOUND “NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION” BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIAN MEDDLING IN 2016 U.S. ELECTION – FOX NEWS CHANNEL INTERVIEW
Conway made the announcement during an interview with Fox News. Per Fox, the committee will interview no more witnesses and Republicans are in the process of preparing a final report. A draft of that roughly 150-page report will be delivered to committee Democrats for review on Tuesday.
“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” Conway said.
Furthermore, after an investigation that lasted more than a year, the committee came to the conclusion that the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “supposed preference” for then-candidate Trump isn’t accurate.
“The report’s completion will signify the closure of one chapter in the Committee’s robust oversight of the threat posed by Moscow—which began well before the investigation and will continue thereafter,” Conaway said.
According to the Associated Press, which was briefed by aides about the draft of the committee report, lawmakers spent hundreds of hours reviewing documents to support their contention that the US intelligence community was wrong.
Unsurprisingly, the Democrats on the committee – led by Schiff, who never missed an opportunity to grandstand about the “lies and corruption” supposedly endemic to the Trump administration – are expected to disagree with the report.
The draft report included 40 other findings, including how Russians used social media to “sow discord” in 2015 and 2016, a “lackluster” pre-election response to Russian measures, how “anti-Trump research” made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign, and “problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”
Conway added that he didn’t anticipate pursuing a contempt charge against former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon – something Schiff threatened.
A committee source told Fox News that the “investigation” portion of the probe was complete, meaning the committee would not interview any additional witnesses as part of its effort.
“I’m sure [committee Democrats] will disagree with bringing the interview phase to a close,” Conaway told Fox News. “I’m sure they will have specific folks they wanted to interview.”
Republicans on the committee wanted to interview former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Schiff “wanted to delay us,” Conway said. Once Manafort was indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the committee decided not to call him for an interview, per the Associated Press.
“We found no evidence of collusion,” Conaway told reporters Monday, suggesting that those who believe there was are reading too many spy novels. “We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings. But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page turner, spy thriller.”
The public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with much different conclusions.
Conaway also said that he did not “anticipate” pursuing contempt proceedings against former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon or any other witnesses who did not respond favorably to the committee’s questioning.
To be sure, there are two more Congressional committee investigations, each pursuing evidence into Trump and his associates’ relationships with Russian entities.
Conaway took the reins of the probe in April after House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes stepped down amid accusations of making “unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law regulations, or other standards of conduct,” according to the House Ethics Committee which investigated the allegations.
In a development bound to further infuriate Democrats, Republicans on the committee have expanded their investigation of the Trump dossier, seeking answers from a former staffer for Joe Biden and other Obama administration officials. Nunes sent a questionnaire to a former Biden staffer, whose husband worked for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier, seeking answers to when the administration was made aware of the dossier.