GOP, Democrats dis­agree over Trump-Rus­sia col­lu­sion find­ings

Imperial Valley Press - - OPINION - BY MARY CLARE JALONICK

WASH­ING­TON — Democrats on the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee are sharply dis­agree­ing with Repub­li­cans on the panel who say they don’t see any ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion or co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign and Rus­sia.

Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Demo­crat on the panel, said Tues­day that he be­lieves there is “sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence” of col­lu­sion be­tween Trump’s cam­paign and Rus­sia, though he couldn’t say if there was crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing.

Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee an­nounced Mon­day that they’d com­pleted a draft re­port and they saw no ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion. Schiff, who saw the GOP re­port for the first time on Tues­day, said Democrats on the com­mit­tee would try to con­tinue the in­ves­ti­ga­tion where pos­si­ble and would write their own re­port to lay out con­clu­sions from the in­tel­li­gence panel’s year­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling.

The GOP re­port “mis­lead­ingly char­ac­ter­izes events, and paints a por­trait and tells a story that could not have been bet­ter writ­ten if it was writ­ten in the White House it­self,” Schiff said.

Trump en­thu­si­as­ti­cally praised the draft Repub­li­can re­port, telling re­porters Tues­day morn­ing that the White House is “very, very happy” with the GOP con­clu­sions.

“It was a pow­er­ful de­ci­sion that left no doubt and I want to thank the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee,” Trump said.

Democrats have said for some time that they be­lieved Repub­li­cans weren’t con­duct­ing a se­ri­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Schiff on Tues­day re­leased a 22-page re­port de­tail­ing threads that Democrats still be­lieve the com­mit­tee should pur­sue and wit­nesses they still want to hear from. Those in­clude White House of­fi­cials, cam­paign of­fi­cials and peo­ple in the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

As ex­am­ples of ev­i­dence of co­or­di­na­tion, Schiff cited mul­ti­ple con­tacts be­tween Trump’s cam­paign and Rus­sia, in­clud­ing a meet­ing in Trump Tower in June 2016 and in­for­ma­tion passed on to an Aus­tralian diplo­mat by a for­mer Trump cam­paign aide, Ge­orge Pa­padopolous, that the Rus­sians had dirt on Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Schiff said Democrats would try to re­lease all com­mit­tee in­ter­view tran­scripts in their re­port.


In this March 8, photo, Rep. Mike Con­away, R-Texas, at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton. Repub­li­cans on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee have com­pleted a draft re­port con­clud­ing there was no col­lu­sion or co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and Rus­sia.

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