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U.S. House Report Clears Trump Of Russian Collusion; Democrats Dissent

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON – The lead Intelligence Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives released its final report into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, concluding that President Donald Trump’s campaign did not collude with Russia.

The April 27 release of the 250-page report was the latest chapter in the investigation by the bitterly divided House Intelligence Committee, which is controlled by Republicans.

Democratic members of the committee have long criticized the Republican-led process, accusing their counterparts of seeking to protect Trump and undermining the U.S. intelligence community’s integrity. Republicans have charged that U.S. intelligence agencies have become overly politicized.

Aside from concluding Trump’s election campaign did not collude with Russian officials, the House report found that Russia did use hacking, cyberattacks, and social media like Facebook to try to stoke confusion and discord in the United States. It said Russia had engaged in a campaign of “information warfare” against the West for nearly a decade.

The report also criticized Trump's campaign for its interactions with WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy organization which published e-mails and other documents from Democratic political activists. The e-mails are believed to have been hacked by Russia.

The report was heavily redacted, at the request of intelligence agencies, which prompted criticism from Republican Representative Mike Conaway, who pledged to have more details released.

The panel’s lead Democrat, Adam Schiff, accused his Republican counterparts of ignoring relevant details.

"Throughout the investigation, committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate -- or even see, when in plain sight -- evidence of collusion," Schiff said in a statement.

The House committee is one of three congressional panels looking into the scope of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election. A report released by the U.S. intelligence community the same month that Trump took office concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a hacking campaign that aimed to help Trump and influence the U.S. vote.

The congressional investigations parallel that of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose criminal inquiry has resulted in charges for 19 people and three companies.

Among those charged are Trump's former campaign chairman and Trump’s first national security adviser. Five people have pleaded guilty, and some of those have been cooperating with investigators.

Trump, who has repeatedly denied allegations of collusion, seized on the House report as further vindication of his innocence. He also lashed out at the Washington private intelligence company Fusion GPS, which hired a former British spy to investigate Trump’s business dealings with Russian officials.

The former spy compiled a series of memos known collectively as the Steele Dossier, which includes several explosive allegations, some salacious.

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    Mike Eckel

    Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent reporting on political and economic developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and espionage. He's reported on the ground on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the wars in Chechnya and Georgia, and the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.