Trump cam­paign col­lu­sion with Rus­sia dis­missed

The Star Late Edition - - WORLD -

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 – a find­ing that pleased the White House, but en­raged Democrats, who had not yet seen the doc­u­ment.

Af­ter a year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Texas Repub­li­can Mike Con­away said on Mon­day that the com­mit­tee had fin­ished in­ter­view­ing wit­nesses and would share the re­port with Democrats for the first time yes­ter­day. Con­away is the Repub­li­can lead­ing the House probe, one of sev­eral on Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tions.

“We found no ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion,” Con­away told re­porters, sug­gest­ing that those who be­lieved there was col­lu­sion were read­ing too many spy nov­els. “We found per­haps some bad judge­ment, in­ap­pro­pri­ate meet­ings, in­ap­pro­pri­ate judge­ment in tak­ing meet­ings.

“But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or some­one else like that could take this series of in­ad­ver­tent con­tacts with each other or meet­ings or what­ever, and weave that into some sort of spy thriller.”

Hours later, Trump tweeted his own head­line of the re­port: “The House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee has – af­ter a 14-month-long, in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion – found no ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion or co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia to in­flu­ence the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.”

Con­away pre­viewed some of the con­clu­sions, but said the pub­lic would not see the re­port un­til Democrats have re­viewed it, and the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity has de­cided what in­for­ma­tion can be­come pub­lic… a process that could take weeks. Democrats are ex­pected to is­sue a sep­a­rate re­port with far dif­fer­ent con­clu­sions.

The draft also chal­lenges an as­sess­ment made af­ter the 2016 elec­tion that Rus­sian med­dling was an ef­fort to help Trump. The Jan­uary 2017 as­sess­ment re­vealed that the FBI, CIA and NSA had con­cluded that the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, at the di­rec­tion of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, waged a covert in­flu­ence cam­paign to in­ter­fere in the elec­tions to hurt Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s candi- dacy and help Trump’s cam­paign.

House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee of­fi­cials said they spent hun­dreds of hours re­view­ing raw source-ma­te­rial used by the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices in the as­sess­ment and it did not meet the ap­pro­pri­ate stan­dards to make the claim about help­ing Trump. The of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, as they were not au­tho­rised to speak pub­licly about the in­tel­li­gence ma­te­rial.

Con­away said there would be a sec­ond re­port deal­ing with the in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ment and its cred­i­bil­ity. The of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence is­sued a state­ment soon af­ter the an­nounce­ment, say­ing it stood by the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity’s find­ings.

DNI spokesper­son Brian Hale said the of­fice would re­view the find­ings of the com­mit­tee’s re­port.


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