US Congressional panel clears Trump campaign of collusion with Russia | News | DW | 27.04.2018
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US Congressional panel clears Trump campaign of collusion with Russia

There is "no evidence" President Trump's campaign colluded or conspired with the Russian government, a Republican-led intelligence committee in Congress has concluded. Democrats slammed the conclusion as biased.

Russia worked to sow discord in the United States through social media and cyberattacks, the intelligence panel said in a lengthy report published on Friday. However, the House of Representatives committee found no evidence of a conspiracy between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow.

At the same time, the investigation "did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns," lawmakers wrote. Friday's report echoes statements Republican lawmakers gave to the media last month.

Commenting on the report on Twitter, Trump restated his position that claims of collusion were a "witch hunt."

The lawmakers criticized Donald Trump Jr. for meeting Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in search of damaging information on Hillary Clinton. They added that interaction between Trump's team and WikiLeaks, which published emails obtained in a hack of the Democratic National Committee, was "highly objectionable and inconsistent with US national security interests." 

The heavily redacted report sums up a yearlong probe that saw Democratic and Republican members of the committee clash.

Republicans 'chose' not to see

Natalia Veselnitskaya (picture alliance/AP Photo/Y. Martyanov )

Natalia Veselnitskaya met Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort in June 2016

Democratic Intelligence Committee members decried the 253-page report and have published their own 98-page rebuttal. The report backed by panel Republicans "reflects a lack of seriousness and interest in pursuing the truth," the Democrats said.

"Throughout the investigation, Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion," the panel's top Democrat, Adam Schiff, said in a statement.

Schiff and Nancy Pelosi, the ranking Democrat in the US House of Representatives, said Democrats will continue to investigate the issue despite the conclusion adopted by the panel.

Read more: What Robert Mueller's indictments of former Trump campaign officials mean for the president

They also urged the body to release transcripts of interviews with key witnesses in the probe.

Despite being cleared by the House panel, the Trump campaign is still under investigation by intelligence and judiciary committees in the Senate, the upper chamber of the US Congress. Separately, the ties between Russia and Trump are also being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Recently, the Democratic National Committee also sued the Trump campaign and Russia, alleging collusion.

dj/sms (AP, Reuters)

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