A probe by the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump‘s campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
The committee’s investigation into Russia’s suspected interference in the election – the findings of which were published in a redacted report on Friday – also said there was no proof Trump’s business dealings formed a basis for collusion with Moscow during his successful bid for the presidency.
“In the course of witness interviews, reviews of document productions, and investigative efforts extending well over a year, the committee did not find any evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the report said.
Compiled by the committee’s Republican-majority contingent, the report described Trump’s associates as having several “ill-advised” Russian contacts, however.
Trump, who has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russian officials, published a tweet within hours of the report’s release calling for an end to the “witch-hunt” against him.
Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2018
Democrats, who account for nine of the committee’s 22 members, have contested the report’s findings.
Adam Schiff, the committee’s highest-ranking Democrat, accused Republican members of taking an inadequate approach to the investigation.
“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 on Friday.
On Twitter, Schiff said there had been “extensive efforts by Russia” to help Trump’s campaign, adding the president’s team had a “litany of communications” with Russian officials and had undertaken a “massive effort to conceal these contacts”.
Mr. President, to conclude there is “no evidence” of collusion, you must ignore Russia’s extensive efforts to help your campaign, the litany of communications between Russia & your campaign, & the massive effort to conceal these contacts. Here’s the truth: https://t.co/ufM7sszcxW https://t.co/k2TX7LYfU5
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 27, 2018
Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the US House of Representatives, said on Friday that House Democrats will continue to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the US elections. She also called on House Republicans to release transcripts from the committee’s probe.
The report, which committee Chairman Devin Nunes said had been “excessively” redacted by US intelligence agencies, also criticised Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton for her campaign’s use of “high-ranking current and former Russian government officials” in compiling research on the now-US president.
Clinton, the report said, paid for research on Trump “using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles”.
In February, a US federal jury charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies as part of an investigation into alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
Moscow, however, has denied all allegations that it meddled in the vote.