Stefanik releases statement on ending House investigation

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Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on Tuesday contradicted his own GOP-led committee's findings in its probe of Russian meddling during the 2016 USA election.

"It's very clear that there's a lot of information that we should have, particularly as we're leading up to the next election cycle".

Asked why the intel community would reach the conclusion it did if the conclusion is not backed up by evidence, Conaway seemed to point to partisanship, "We'll have to ask them but we believe that we disagree with them".

Of course, the House Intelligence Committee doesn't have the final say in this matter.

As for the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin and top Trump campaign aides, including Trump's son Donald Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Conaway said, "That meeting should never have taken place".

Chris Stewart made the comment following the committee's Monday announcement that a draft report of their findings is at odds with US intelligence agencies' view of Russia's attempt to interfere in the election "with respect to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's supposed preference for candidate Trump".

FILE - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

Democrats have reacted sharply to the remarks.

The committee is widely expected to issue two competing reports: one from Republicans that concludes no evidence of collusion was found, and another from Democrats that argues a case for collusion, as well as spells out all the avenues the committee did not investigate.

However, Gowdy said Russia's attempts to divide Americans are "crystal clear".

Democrats described the Republican conclusions as a smokescreen meant to protect the president.

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The committee conducted 73 witness interviews, heard more than 230 hours of testimony, and received 307,905 documents as part of the investigation.

"We found no evidence of collusion", Mr. Conaway said.

"We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings".

"But only [thriller authors] Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page turner, spy thriller", Mr Conaway said.

They said they concurred with the judgment of United States spy chiefs from January 2017 on the Russian interference, except with respect to President Vladimir Putin's alleged preference for candidate Trump. It will detail Russian cyberattacks on US institutions during the election and the use of social media to sow discord. And it will blame officials in President Barack Obama's administration for a "lackluster" response and look at leaks from the intelligence community to the media.

Committee chair Devin Nunes said on Monday that the panel has ended its investigation.

"By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly", Schiff said.

"I've read a lot about it, but I haven't seen any" evidence of collusion, Burr said.

DNI spokesman Brian Hale said the office will review the findings of the committee's report.

In an appearance on Special Report, Rep. Conaway focused on the finding about collusion saying, "Yes, the Russians tried to interfere with our elections process".

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