House Intelligence Committee Republicans have declared their investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election over. Speaking with reporters, the leader of the investigation, Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas, stated that Republican members of the committee do not believe that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
This leaves one bipartisan committee investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which Conway agrees is still a looming threat: “The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future. We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
The committee came to their conclusion without interviewing four key men indicted by Mueller’s special counsel: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Michael T. Flynn.
Without speaking to the indicted men, the Conaway explained that he found “no evidence of collusion” but “perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings” before explaining that the narrative to tie Trump and Russia together would be best reserved for a Tom Clancy novel:
“But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take these series of inadvertent contacts with each other, meetings, whatever, and weave that into some sort of a fiction and turn it into a page-turner, spy thriller.”
It’s impossible to know if that’s true if the committee didn’t do its due diligence, which some Democrats are claiming as the case. According to the New York Times, the committee has only interviewed three witnesses since December, and the investigation is described as a highly-partisan mess despite vows to work together a year ago.
Rep. Conaway stated that he would take any significant evidence that comes into account in the future, but still decided to close the investigation despite not interviewing the indicted witnesses named above, or the United Arab Emirates advisor George Nader, who has ties to Trump and is cooperating with Mueller as of last week.
Conaway said he hopes to declassify the entire investigation and make it public.
(ViaThe New York Times)