Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday vowed to continue their inquiry into allegations of links between the Trump campaign and Russia, despite Republicans’ announcement Monday that they had found no evidence of collusion in the probe.
Blasting Republicans’ decision to “prematurely shut down” the committee’s investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the top Democrat on the committee, insisted that there is “significant evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“What I cannot say because I do not know what [Special counsel ]Bob Mueller knows, is whether that evidence rises to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy to violate US election laws,” he said. 5
While they will lack the ability to compel testimony and production of documents and information as the minority, Democrats plan to write their own minority report dissenting from the majority’s conclusions – a rebuttal that will also include new information related to collusion.
“We will be setting out the facts that we know to date, to the degree that the intelligence community will allow us to make those public,” Schiff said. “There are individuals who want to cooperate with our committee and share information, and will continue to do so.”
"The Intelligence Community stands by its January 2017 assessment, 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.' We will review the HPSCI report findings,” he said.
Conaway attempted to clarify his position in a statement on Tuesday, saying, “The issue we have is with the analytic tradecraft used. There are standards that CIA analysts, and other intelligence analysts, hold themselves to. 98 percent of the tradecraft was just fine, but we believe that on this one narrow piece of the ICA, the standards were not upheld.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, a retiring member of the committee, appeared to break with the GOP conclusion in his own statement on the investigation.
"It remains clear Russia sought to sow the seeds of discord and challenge the reliability of the 2016 election cycle. Russia is not our friend. Russia will do what it can, when it can, to undermine the foundations of our democracy," he said.
The president seized on Republicans’ plans to wrap up the House probe Monday, tweeting that they had “FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 ELECTION.”
Schiff said Tuesday that the GOP draft report is “not a serious work” and accused Republicans of cherry-picking intelligence to suit their conclusions.
“It misleadingly characterizes events and paints a portrait and tells a story that couldn’t have been better written than if it was written in the White House,” Schiff said.
“If evidence of money laundering is leverage the Russians have with the president of the United States, we need to know,” he said.
Democrats hope to include transcripts of all the committee’s witness interviews with the release of their report. They did not lay out a timetable for the release of their findings Tuesday, and also suggested that the investigation could continue into the next Congress if Democrats retake the House.
“If the majority in the Congress changes hands, we’ll have to evaluate where the investigation is at that point, what has the Senate been allowed to do, what has the special counsel been allowed to do, and determine if there is work that is still undone,” Schiff said.