US House Republicans find 'no evidence' of Trump-Russia collusion
US House Intelligence Committee Republicans say the panel has finished investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election. The Trump campaign's "inappropriate meetings" did not constitute collusion, they said.
Republicans in the US House of Representatives announced Monday that a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election had concluded there was no collusion between US President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.
The leading Republican for the House Intelligence Committee, Texas Representative Mike Conaway, said the panel had finished interviewing witnesses in its yearlong probe.
"We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters.
He said the panel "found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings," but suggested it was a stretch to conclude those "inadvertent contacts" amounted to collusion.
Although the Republicans' draft report agrees with the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, it takes aim at a central point in the assessment, disagreeing that Moscow meddled in order to help boost Trump's campaign.
Republicans will share their draft report with their Democrat colleagues on the panel on Tuesday, Conaway said. The report will only be released to the public after the Democrats and intelligence community have reviewed its contents.
June 18, 2013. Donald Trump tweeted: "The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9. A big deal that will bring our countries together!" He later added: "Do you think Putin will be going - if so, will he become my new best friend?" October 17, 2013 Trump tells chat show host David Letterman he has conducted "a lot of business with the Russians."
September 2015: Hacking allegations raised
An FBI agent told a tech-support contractor at the Democratic National Committee it may have been hacked. On May 18, 2016, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, said there were "some indications" of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns. On June 14, 2016 the DNC announced it had been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.
July 20, 2016: Mr Kislyak enters the picture
Senator Jeff Sessions - an early Trump endorser who led his national security advisory committee - met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a group of other ambassadors at a Republican National Convention event.
July 22, 2016: Assange thickens the plot
Julian Assange's WikiLeaks published 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, appearing to show a preference for Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders.
July 25, 2016: Cometh the hour, Comey the man
The FBI announced it was investigating the DNC hack saying "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously."
November 8, 2016: Trump elected
Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. On November 9, the Russian parliament burst into applause at the news.
November 10, 2016: Team Trump denies Russia link
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov said there "were contacts" between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign. The Trump campaign issued a firm denial.
November 18, 2016: Flynn appointed
Trump named General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. The former Defence Intelligence Agency chief was a top foreign policy adviser in Trump's campaign. Flynn resigned in February after failing to disclose full details of his communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
January 26, 2017: Yates - 'The center cannot hold'
Acting attorney general Sally Yates told White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn made false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak. On January 30 Trump fired Yates for refusing to enforce his travel ban, which was later blocked by federal courts.
March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself
Trump said he had "total confidence" in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions announced he would recuse himself from any investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
March 20, 2017: FBI examines Trump-Kremlin links
FBI Director James Comey confirmed before the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI was investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
May 9, 2017: Trump sacks Comey
In a letter announcing the termination, Trump wrote: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."
May 17, 2017: Mueller appointed special counsel
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to look into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
August 2017: FBI seizes documents from Manafort
Shortly after Mueller convenes a grand jury for the investigation, the FBI seizes documents from one of Paul Manafort’s properties as part of a raid for Mueller’s probe. The former Trump campaigner manager stepped down in August 2016 after allegations surfaced that he had received large payments linked to Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.
September 2017: Trump Jr.'s talks to Senate committee
Donald Trump Jr. tells the Senate Judiciary Committee he has not colluded with a foreign government. The closed-door interview relates to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr.’s emails, however, suggest the meeting was supposed to produce dirt on Clinton.
October 2017: Internet giants allege Russian interference
Facebook, Twitter and Google reportedly tell US media they have evidence that Russian operatives exploited platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election. The three companies are expected to appear before a Senate Intelligence Committee in November.
Trump tweets, Democrats cry foul
In an all-caps tweet late Monday, Trump appeared to celebrate the House Republicans' findings, repeating that the committee had found "no evidence of collusion."
Democrats and intelligence officials were less pleased with the assessment, with ranking Democrat Adam Schiff tweeting that "GOP members ... lack the courage to stand up to a president of their own party when the national interest necessitates it."
The Republicans' draft report contradicts the preliminary findings released by the panel's Democrats last month, which concluded there was "ample evidence of collusion."
Several other Russia investigations are still underway. The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a bipartisan report in the coming weeks on election security, but a report on alleged coordination between Trump's team and Russia will come at a later date. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also investigating the meddling.