GOP-Led House Panel Officially Clears Trump in Russia Probe - NBC10 Boston
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President Donald Trump

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GOP-Led House Panel Officially Clears Trump in Russia Probe

The report's conclusion is fiercely opposed by committee Democrats, who say the committee did not interview enough witnesses or gather enough evidence to support its finding

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump: 'Nobody Has Ever Been More Transparent Than I Have'

    President Donald Trump continued to decry the Russia investigation as a “hoax” Wednesday, and said his team has fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigators. “Nobody has ever been more transparent than I have,” Trump claimed during a joint press conference on trade and North Korea with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday. Trump also said months of speculation that he would fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had proven wrong.

    (Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018)

    The Republican-led House intelligence committee on Friday released a lengthy report concluding it found no evidence that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign, drawing praise from the president and rebuttals from Democrats.

    The report caps an investigation that began with the promise of bipartisanship but quickly transformed into an acrimonious battle between Democrats and Republicans over Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and whether there were any connections with the Trump campaign.

    Trump quickly claimed vindication Friday, calling the report "totally conclusive, strong, powerful, many things."

    "No collusion, which I knew anyway. No coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt, that's all it is," he told reporters in the Oval Office.

    DNC Takes Trump Campaign, Russia and Wikileaks to Court

    [NATL] DNC Takes Trump Campaign, Russia and Wikileaks to Court in Friday Lawsuit

    The suit seeks damages related to the the hack, claiming the DNC spent more than a million dollars to fix computers and lost even more in donations as a result of publicity surrounding the matter.

    (Published Friday, April 20, 2018)

    But the committee's Republicans didn't let the Trump campaign completely off the hook. They specifically cited the Trump campaign for "poor judgment" in taking a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower that was described in emails to Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., as part of a Russian government effort to aide his father's presidential bid. The report also dubbed the campaign's praise of WikiLeaks "objectionable."

    "While the committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns," the House intelligence committee wrote.

    The report's conclusion on collusion is fiercely opposed by committee Democrats, who accused their Republican colleagues of playing "defense counsel" for the White House throughout the investigation.

    Justice Department Releases Comey Memos to Congress

    [NATL] Justice Department Releases Comey Memos to Congress

    The Department of Justice has given Congress copies of the memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey on his interactions with President Trump. Comey says he began the memos after a Trump Tower meeting to brief the president-elect on Russia's claims involving prostitutes. 

    (Published Friday, April 20, 2018)

    "Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia," Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, said in a statement. Schiff cited several "secret meetings and communication" between people linked to Russia and Trump campaign officials, including Trump Jr. and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

    Schiff called on the committee to publicly release the transcripts from dozens of interviews with key witnesses, saying the public should be able to judge the evidence gathered by the committee. Democrats also released a 98-page rebuttal .

    Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, meanwhile called on intelligence officials to clear the committee to release more information from the report that was deemed classified. The 253-page document is packed with details and assessments, but is also spackled with redacted names and blacked-out passages. For instance, several pages are redacted in the section on Russian cyberattacks. One page is blacked out entirely except for a line reading, "Attribution is a Bear."

    WH Doubles Down on Trump's 'Animals' Remark at Roundtable

    [NATL] WH Doubles Down on Trump's 'Animals' Comment at California Sanctuary Policies Roundtable

    President Donald Trump railed against immigration policies adopted by so-called sanctuary cities at a White House roundtable Wednesday, bemoaning a California law that restricts local and state cooperation with U.S. Customs and Enforcement agents and calling some immigrants "animals." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on the comments, saying the president's language was not tough enough. 

    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    The report faults intelligence officials during the Obama administration for not telling the Trump campaign that some of its members were "potential counterintelligence concerns." It specifically cites Flynn, former Trump campaign foreign policy advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    The panel also singles out Manafort for criticism, saying the numerous criminal charges he faces unrelated to Russia illustrated the need for better vetting by the campaign.

    "If the accusations against Manafort are true, he should have never served as a senior official with a campaign for the U.S. presidency, much less campaign chairman or manager," the report said. Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.

    Senate Votes to Protect Net Neutrality

    [NATL] Senate Votes to Protect Net Neutrality
    The Senate has moved to protect net neutrality rules that are set to end next month, passing a resolution to keep the Obama-era internet protections by a 52-47 vote.
     
    It's a last-ditch effort led by Democratic senators to take legislative action to overrule the Federal Communications Commission, which voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules.
    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    The report largely confirms the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was assessed to be responsible for cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions, including the hack of the Democratic National Committee's emails. The panel found "no credible evidence" that the computer systems were compromised by another cyber actor or by "an insider threat."

    The panel also found that Russians leveraged social media in the U.S. to sow discord during the campaign.

    The report challenges one part of a January 2017 intelligence assessment that found that Russian meddling was an effort to help Trump. The report says committee staff found "intelligence failings" that undermine that assessment by the FBI, CIA and NSA, though specifics are not detailed and some portions of that section are redacted.

    Last month, in response to the committee announcing that finding, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it stood by the intelligence community's findings and it will review the committee's report.

    The House investigation is the first of several inquiries probing Russian election interference to conclude. A separate investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller continues, as do probes led by the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees.

    The House investigation began with bipartisan promise but ultimately succumbed to factional squabbling. But the probe did provide important public revelations.

    North Korea Threatens to Shut Down Summit With US

    [NATL] North Korea Threatens to Shut Down Summit With US

    North Korea is threatening to walk away from next month's highly anticipated historic summit with the United States, saying it has no interest in giving up nuclear weapons without getting something in return. The regime is pointing to routine military drills between the U.S. and South Korea as a "provocative military racket."

    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    Former FBI Director James Comey chose the March 20, 2017, hearing of the House intelligence committee to publicly reveal that the FBI had been investigating the Trump campaign since July 2016. One day later, the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, took a clandestine trip to the White House grounds to review classified information that quickly drew scrutiny after he publicly disclosed that Trump associates' communications had been swept up by U.S. spy agencies and accused Obama administration officials of misconduct.

    The episode drew questions about whether Nunes was coordinating with the White House and ultimately led to his recusing from the probe amid an ethics investigation into whether he mishandled classified information. In his absence, Conaway took over the probe. Nunes was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, but never formally rejoined the House investigation. Instead he launched a pair of investigations on his own, taking aim at the Justice Department and FBI.

    At the start of 2018, Nunes and the committee's Republican staff crafted a memo revealing details of the FBI's surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Trump ultimately chose to declassify the sensitive contents of the memo — including details from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application for Page.

    Senate Releases Trump Tower Probe Transcripts

    [NATL] Senate Releases Trump Tower Probe Transcripts
    Newly released documents numbering thousands of pages show Donald Trump, Jr., didn't think there was anything wrong with meeting with Russians tied to the Kremlin in an effort to get compromising information on Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. Democrats and legal experts say his testimony likely doesn't tell the whole story.
    (Published Thursday, May 17, 2018)

    House investigators cautioned that Russia will continue meddling in U.S. elections and suggested some fixes that would help the government and politicians better defend against that interference.

    The panel wrote that intelligence officials should immediately alert presidential candidates and Congress when they discover "legitimate" threats to a campaign. The panel also recommended the executive branch "crack down" on leaks by conducting polygraphs.

    Read the GOP-authored report.
    Read the Democratic rebuttal.

    Still No Apology for McCain From Trump Administration

    [NATL] Still No Apology for McCain From Trump Administration

    President Donald Trump met with his fellow Republicans to talk domestic policy Tuesday, while the question of whether the president owes Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an apology loomed over the meeting. Last week a White House aide reportedly mocked McCain's fight with brain cancer.

    (Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018)

    Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.