House Intel Committee member contradicts own Russia meddling report: ‘we’ve gone completely off the rails’
In an interview with CNN Monday night, Rep. Tom Rooney contradicted the report findings, suggesting there’s evidence the Russians made an attempt to help Trump win the election.
The Republican was pressed on whether the Russians “developed a preference” for Trump when he became a “viable candidate.”
“I certainly think there’s evidence of that,” he said. “I don’t know that necessarily there was a full-fledged campaign to do everything that they could to help elect Donald Trump. I think that their goal was chaos,” Rooney told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
Rooney told CNN they are ending their part of the investigation because “we’ve gone completely off the rails.”
“And now we’re just basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day’s news,” Rooney said. “We’ve lost all credibility, and we’re going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately.”
After a yearlong investigation, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway announced Monday that the committee has finished interviewing witnesses and will now share the report with Democrats. Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe, one of several investigations on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
“We found no evidence of collusion,” Conaway told reporters. “We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings. But only 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.”
Democrats have criticized Republicans on the committee for shortening the investigation, pointing to multiple contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia and saying they have seen far too few witnesses to make any judgment on collusion.
The public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with much different conclusions.
Following the news of the report Trump took to Twitter late Monday announcing no collusion was found.
“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,” he tweeted.
–with files from the Associated Press
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