Russia Probe: Congressman Slams Colleagues Who Disagreed With Intel Agencies

Democrats have condemned Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee after they said a draft report of their probe of Russia's election interference contradicts key U.S. intelligence agencies on important aspects of Moscow's campaign.

On Monday the top Republican working on the probe, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, said that the investigation is wrapping up after a year of looking at whether the Trump campaign aided Russia in their efforts to meddle in the election.

In a one-page overview of the committee's findings, Republicans wrote that while they agreed with the January 2017 intelligence report by the CIA, FBI, and NSA that found Russia worked to interfere in the election, they disagreed with its conclusions "with respect to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's supposed preference for candidate Trump."

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Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats listens to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray testify among other national security leaders during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. Leah Millis/Reuters

The committee's findings follow special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians last month on charges of election fraud for conducting a years-long campaign of "information warfare" against the U.S. That campaign ultimately saw them "supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ... and disparaging Hillary Clinton."

Democratic Rep. Bill Keating, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed the Republican report Monday. "Partisanship has trumped patriotism," he wrote on Twitter of its findings. "It's outrageous that my Republican colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee stand completely at odds with our nation's top intelligence agencies who concluded Russia attacked our election system to help Donald Trump."

Read more: Mueller sees cooperation of witness to Erik Prince meeting with Russian government banker

The committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, called the end of the committee's probe a "tragic milestone for this Congress." Republicans on the committee, Schiff said, were "afraid to compel witnesses" to answer tough questions and subpoena documents, including phone records, text messages, bank records and other documents.

"We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings," Conaway told reporters of the Trump campaign's interactions with Russians. But he dismissed those who see any connection in these "inadvertent contacts" as someone who has read too many spy novels.

"THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION," President Trump tweeted after the announcement the House committee is ending its probe. The president has long maintained the investigations are a partisan "hoax" and "witch hunt" started by Democrats to hurt him politically.

"The Intelligence Community stands by its January 2017 assessment," wrote the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a message to CNN's Jim Sciutto, noting it will review the committee's findings.

The new Republican led-report is expected to show "links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns," according to the draft overview. The report will be reviewed by Democrats and the intelligence community before release.

Schiff said that with the end of the investigation Republicans are walking away from the job of revealing to the American public the full extent of what happened during the 2016 election.

"The Majority was not willing to pursue the facts wherever they would lead," he said in a statement.

Correction: This story has been amended to make clear that Rep. Bill Keating is a Democrat.

Russia Probe: Congressman Slams Colleagues Who Disagreed With Intel Agencies | U.S.