House Intelligence Committee Found No Evidence of Collusion Between Russia and Trump Campaign

The House Intelligence Committee released a redacted version of the Republican report of the committee’s investigation on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, concluding that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, ABC News reports.

The year-long investigation began as a bipartisan effort, but quickly became a battle between the Republicans and Democrats over Russia’s interference and its connection to the Trump campaign.

While Democrats were quick to rebuke the committee’s final report, President Trump applauded the committee’s findings.

“No collusion, which I knew anyway. No coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt, that's all it is,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

Trump also tweeted about his perceived vindication, writing, “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!”

“House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have been saying all along, it is all a big Hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a Special Counsel appointed. Witch Hunt!” Trump also wrote on Twitter. Although, Democrats have disputed these “no collusion” findings.

Despite Trump’s praise of the committee’s reports and claim of vindication, the committee did not completely let the Trump campaign off the hook in its 253-page report.

According to CNN, the committee expressed in its report that the Trump campaign “demonstrated poor judgment” with that infamous Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016. The report also called the Trump campaign’s praise of Wikileaks “objectionable,” ABC News reports.

“While the committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns,” the committee wrote.

The report also downplayed the roles of two campaign aides — George Papadopoulos and Carter Page — who were closely associated with Russia, CNN reports.

“There is no evidence that anyone on the Trump campaign was aware of Page's past ties to Russian intelligence services-or Papadopoulos' more recent contacts with a Russian-connected professor-when these two individuals were included among the advisers that were publicly announced on March 21,” the report states. “In fact, as Kushner candidly put it, ‘we put together that list because we were getting a lot of pressure from the media to put out a list of foreign policy advisers.’”

The report also calls out the Obama administration’s response to the Russian interference, and takes issue with the opposition research dossier composed by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, which the report points out was indirectly paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through Fusion GPS, CNN reports. .

The Democrats on the committee did release their own 98-page report, accusing their Republican colleagues of playing “defense counsel” to the White House, ABC News reports.

“Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said in a statement.

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation on the Russian meddling is one of the first of multiple investigations to conclude, with the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees’ and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations still continuing.

However, Rep. Mike Conaway, the Republican who led the committee's Russia investigation after Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, recused himself from the investigation, believed the report had “overzealous redactions” and says he intends to push for the intelligence community to declassify more of the final report, CNN reports.

Republicans will continue to look into investigations and reports, and Nunes will also continue his own investigations on the State Department and the Steele dossier. Democrats, however, have said that they will continue with the Russia probe.