House Intelligence Committee votes to release GOP report on Russia probe

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted Thursday to release the Republican version of the committee’s report on its Russia investigation, which found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

The report will be released to the public, pending a classification review by the Intelligence Community.

“Last January, we set out to investigate Russian active measures during the 2016 election. Today, we are one step closer to delivering answers to the questions the American people have been asking for over a year,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who has led the committee’s probe since last April, said in a statement Thursday.

The committee’s vote Thursday morning to release the report comes just one week after the Republicans announced the end of their Russia probe and the fact that they found “no evidence of collusion,” and that they disagreed with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “supposed preference” for then-candidate Donald Trump.

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The Democrats on the committee, led by Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also released their findings last week, noting that Republicans “prematurely” shut down the committee’s Russia probe.

Schiff, following the committee’s vote to release the Republican report Thursday, called the Russia probe a “sad chapter,” and called it a “completely political” document.

But House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who stepped down from leading the probe in April 2017, invited Democrats on the committee to submit their recommendations to the report.

“The report, which will include minority views if the minority submits them, presents the comprehensive results of what the Committee has learned during its fourteen-month-long investigation, and will be useful in thwarting any attempts by Russia or any other foreign powers to further meddle in U.S. elections,” Nunes said in a statement Thursday.

The report has a series of findings and recommendations that show “a pattern of Russian active measures” in the U.S. through cyberattacks and social media to “sow discord.”

The report states that Russia conducted cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions in 2015 and 2016, and that Russian state actors were “responsible for the dissemination of documents and communications stolen from U.S. political organizations.”

“This poses a serious threat to future U.S. elections, including the primary elections that are already underway,” Conaway said. “It’s critical to release this information now, to protect our country and our elections from foreign interference.”

Further, the report goes on to state that the FBI’s notification of Russian hacking victims was “largely inadequate,” that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security’s statements attributing election interference to Russia was “ineffective,” the Executive Branch’s “post-election response was insufficient.”

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an enterprise counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign after receiving information related to Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos,” the report read. “As part of the enterprise counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an individual counterintelligence investigation into Carter Page.”

Executive Branch officials, at the time, members of the Obama administration, according to the report, did not notify the Trump campaign that members of the campaign were assessed to be potential counterintelligence concerns.

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The report notes that the now-infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele “formed an essential part of an application” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain electronic surveillance on Carter Page. The dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign as opposition research against Trump.

The committee also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on several charges, but “none of which relate to allegations of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

The report references the Republican Party platform during the 2016 election—specifically the change regarding Ukraine, which “resulted in a stronger position against Russia, not a weaker one,” and noted that there was no evidence that Manafort was involved in that change.

The report outlined that “none of the interviewed witnesses” provided evidence of collusion, and noted that the Committee “found no evidence that President Trump’s pre-campaign business dealings formed the basis for collusion during the campaign.”

The committee’s findings state that there is “no evidence” that Trump associates were involved in the theft or publication of Clinton campaign-related emails, “although Trump associates had numerous ill-advised contacts with WikiLeaks.”

“The Committee found no evidence that meetings between Trump associates –including Jeff Sessions—and official representatives of the Russian government—including Ambassador Kislyak—reflected collusion, coordination, or conspiracy with the Russian government,” the report read.

The report also notes leaks of classified information from the intelligence community, and suggests it “damaged national security and potentially endangered lives.”

“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national-security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN,” the report read.

The majority staff outlined a summary of recommendations for Congress and the executive branch.

But Schiff said Democrats voted against the release of the “deeply flawed” Republican report, and had submitted several motions for the committee meeting Thursday—all of which were “rebuffed” by the Majority.

“We had motions to hold Mr. [Steve] Bannon in contempt, as well as about a dozen motions to require subpoenas for those who refused to answer questions—either because they had made claims of illusory privilege or they simply made no claim but refused to answer our questions nonetheless,” Schiff said in a statement Thursday, noting that Democrats also moved to issue subpoenas for a “wide set” of documents.

“But our work will go on nonetheless. We will be submitting Minority Views. We will also be conducting additional interviews and obtaining additional documents, indeed that work has never stopped. Witnesses have decided to continue cooperating with our committee, even if the Majority will not be participating,” Schiff said.

Schiff went on to criticize Republicans for altering key findings in their draft report, saying it shows the “fundamental unseriousness of their endeavor.”

“When you have the opportunity to see their report, you will see just how unserious it is, and of course we intend to hold them to their commitment to releasing all the witness transcripts now that they have said the investigation is over,” Schiff said.

The Democrats "Minority View" is expected to be released next Monday.