House Intelligence Committee to vote on Republicans’ Russia report next week
Posted by Karoun Demirjian on 14th March 2018

This post was originally published on THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICS

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By Karoun Demirjian,

The House Intelligence Committee has set itself a March 22 deadline to make any changes to a draft report authored by panel Republicans, at which point they plan to adopt the report as final and send it on to the intelligence community for any necessary redactions of classified information.

The committee posted a notice of next week’s meeting on its website, defining the window within which members will be able to lobby for changes to the 150-page document. The report was announced to the media on Monday and shared with panel Democrats on Tuesday.

Democrats are not expected to endorse the findings in the Republicans’ report, as they have pledged to continue investigating on their own. On Tuesday, Democratic committee members excoriated their Republican colleagues for concluding there was “no evidence” President Trump or anyone affiliated with him had colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election and that the intelligence community erred in finding the Kremlin pursued “active measures” during the election to aid Trump’s campaign.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, instead argued Tuesday night there was “significant evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia” and expressed chagrin that the GOP broke with the intelligence community over its findings about Russian interference. At least two Republicans on the panel also appeared to contradict investigation chief K. Michael Conaway’s presentation of how the report broke with the intelligence community. The GOP report never concluded “We don’t see anything [where] the Russians were intending to hurt Hillary [Clinton] and help Trump,” Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) told CNN on Monday.

On Tuesday night, Conaway appeared to backtrack from his earlier remarks, telling reporters nothing Russia had done “remotely helped Hillary Clinton” and that whether Russian meddling hurt Clinton or helped Trump was a “glass half-full, glass half-empty” question.

“You can pitch that either way,” Conaway said, while still maintaining that the panel would separately report on how the intelligence community had failed to meet its own standards in making that determination.

“Only [Russian President Vladimir] Putin knows for sure what he wanted to do,” Conaway added.

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