House intel panel concludes: No collusion with Russian Federation

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Republicans on the House intelligence committee are ending their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and they say they found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.

Mr Conaway said the panel had spoken to 73 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents.

The report says that though the committee agrees with USA intelligence agencies that the Russian government tried to meddle in the election, they do not have information to suggest Russia was trying to help President Donald Trump win.

The draft report included 40 other findings, including how Russians used social media to "sow discord" in 2015 and 2016, a "lackluster" pre-election response to Russian measures, how "anti-Trump research" made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign, and "problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media".

But the committee is so divided along party lines that Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with much different conclusions.

The House's decision to end the investigation left only one committee to continue it in Congress.

Democrats have accused committee Republicans of shirking the investigation in order to protect the Republican president and his associates, some of whom have pleaded guilty to charges including lying to investigators and conspiring against the United States.

The report also noted that based on its investigation which lasted more than a year, the committee disagreed with the intelligence community's assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a "supposed preference" for then-candidate Donald Trump.

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The committee's partisan split grew deeper in February, when Republicans released the "Nunes memo" alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department abused their surveillance authority to target Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016. In a statement Monday night, the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, Calif., said the sight-unseen report was a "tragic milestone" and a "capitulation to the executive branch".

The committee Republicans said they agreed that Russian Federation sought to influence the election by spreading propaganda and false news reports via social media.

Stewart says even though they are closing the investigation, if they do learn something more, they will pursue it.

Conaway previewed some of the conclusions, but said the public will 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.

Figures who never appeared before the committee include a number who have been indicted by Mueller, like former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. "That's what this next phase is about and we hope Democrats will join us in seeing this through".

Of course, the House Intelligence Committee doesn't have the final say in this matter. But he also said he believes Russian Federation favoured Trump over Clinton.

"I don't know anyone who suggests any longer that the president is guilty of collusion". Schiff predicted that "Republicans will be held accountable for abandoning a critical investigation of such vital national importance" if new information arises from future indictments and other reports.

The House probe has been marred from its early days by steadily rising hostility between Republicans and Democrats, a dynamic that grew into a crippling distraction.