- A new report from a Democrat-aligned group lays out the ways in which the House Intelligence Committee failed to conduct a thorough investigation into the President Donald Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
- The committee’s Republican majority voted to release their final report on Thursday, which officially closed their investigation.
- But the Moscow Project’s report claims that in 81% of the campaign’s known contacts with Russia, the committee did not get a complete picture of the interactions from the Trump associates they interviewed.
The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines on Thursday to release its Republican majority’s report on the Russia investigation, therefore concluding the probe.
But a new report from a Democrat-aligned group shows the committee failed to investigate a slew of leads, and claims the Republican majority on the committee should not have closed their inquiry so soon – echoing Democrats on the committee.
The Center for American Progress’ Moscow Project, which has been closely documenting events of interest to investigators in the Russia probe, identified 70 known contacts between Trump officials and “Russia-linked operatives,” 22 of which were meetings between the two sides.
The project’s report says that when looking into 81% of these contacts, the committee obtained only partial information from the relevant Trump representatives, and in 60% of them, didn’t interview the Trump associate involved.
In total, the report claims that at least 12 people on Trump’s team had contacts with Russians, and that at least another 10 people knew about them.
According to the report, the 12 people who had such contacts with Russians were:
- Lawyer Michael Cohen
- Former campaign political adviser Roger Stone
- Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions
- Former campaign manager Paul Manafort
- Former national security director J.D. Gordon
- White House senior adviser Jared Kushner
- Former foreign policy adviser Carter Page
- Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn
- Private-security entrepreneur Erik Prince
- Former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos
- Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci
All three people who headed Trump’s campaign – former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway – reportedly had knowledge of these contacts.
But the committee reportedly failed to interview eight of these individuals, and did not require another five of the 22 people who either had contacts or knew about them to divulge all the information they knew, according to the report.
The report documented 15 denials that members of the campaign made of the campaign’s contacts with Russian officials, and said all of them have proven false.
One key example was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who denied having any knowledge of the campaign’s interactions with Russians.
But after news broke of a campaign national security meeting at which former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos said he had reached out to Russian officials, Sessions changed his story, and said he had forgotten about the meeting. Sessions then recused himself from overseeing the DOJ’s Russia investigation.
Although Sessions stated last year that he pushed back on Papadopoulos’ efforts, three witnesses who have spoken to special counsel Robert Mueller have contradicted this narrative.
Democrats are furious
The Moscow Project’s report went on to say that in 21% of these contacts, the Democrats on the committee had called for witnesses to be brought back for additional questioning because the witnesses may have lied, improperly invoked privileges to avoid giving answers, or because newly disclosed information indicated they might have more to tell the committee.
In a summary report released last week, Republicans concluded that no collusion had taken place between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Ranking member on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, slammed the committee’s decision to close the investigation based on the numerous witnesses he said the committee had failed to fully question.
“The majority report reflects all of the shortcomings of this quasi-investigation,” he said on Thursday.
Schiff said Democrats had indeed uncovered collusion between Trump and Russia, despite the Republican report’s assertion that they did not.
“Just look at one piece of it, George Papadopoulos, this is someone the Russians approach in April 2016,” Schiff told CNN. “They say they have stolen [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary] Clinton emails, they preview the dissemination, they want a relationship with the campaign. Who does Papadopoulos share this with in the campaign? We don’t know because they wouldn’t bring Papadopoulos in.”
“They’re not interested in finding out,” he added.