Voted along party lines Thursday to formally end panel’s Russia probe
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted along party lines on Thursday to formally end the panel’s Russia investigation and to release a report about the probe to the rest of Congress.
The 150-page report will now undergo a classification review by the intelligence community to determine what information must be redacted in the document. After it goes to Congress, the report will be made public. That is expected to happen within the next several weeks.
Committee Republicans announced last week that they had drafted the report and were planning on shutting down the Russia investigation.
After 73 witness interviews and a review of more than 300,000 documents, Republicans found no evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Democrats fumed over the decision to end the investigation. They responded with a 21-page rebuttal calling for an additional 30 witness interviews. They also wanted 15 subpoenas issued to Trump associates and companies that did business with the Trump campaign.
The GOP-authored report will point to “problematic contacts” between senior government officials in former President Barack Obama’s administration and the media. It is also expected to address leaks to the media of classified information about Trump associates. The document will also focus heavily on the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump opposition research report the Justice Department used to obtain spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
One of the more controversial aspects of the forthcoming report is its conclusions about Russia’s motives in meddling in the election. The report is expected to diverge from an intelligence community report issued in January 2017 that asserted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal in meddling in the election was to help Trump win the presidency. The Republican report will claim Putin instead sought to sow discord in the American democratic system and to derail former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
California Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican who is chairman of the intelligence committee, said in a statement after Thursday’s vote that the report “will be useful in thwarting any attempts by Russia or other foreign powers to further meddle in U.S. elections.”
The report will provide findings and recommendations aimed at improving election security ahead of the 2018 mid-terms, Nunes said.
The report will also include views from the minority side of the committee, “if the minority submits them,” Nunes said.