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The House Intelligence Committee's Russia Report Doesn't Exonerate Donald Trump

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The Republican majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released an over 250-page report[1] Friday outlining its months-long investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election[2]. The full report, the key findings of which were published in March[3], finds that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia. But it shouldn't be held up as any sort of evidence of the president's innocence—even though Trump[4] and his political allies have already begun to use it as such.

The committee's Democrats argue that the investigation was not carried out in good faith. Their Republican counterparts don't dispute that Moscow wanted to influence the election, but say they couldn't find direct evidence that Putin helped Trump win. The question, though, is whether they really tried to look.

What the Report Says

The heavily redacted report doesn't absolutely excuse Trump and his associates for their contacts with Russians. It does call the communications between Trump campaign associates and Wikileaks "ill-advised." The committee also says it has "concerns" that Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy advisor, may have given an incomplete account of his activities in Moscow in 2016. It also found that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort attended a meeting on June 9 at Trump Tower where they expected to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton, but did not. That finding appears to contradict the written testimony[5] Kushner submitted to Congress.

Overall, however, the report concluded that there was no conspiracy between Trump and Russians interested in disrupting the election.

'The House investigation was beset by partisan overtones from the beginning.'

William C. Banks, Syracuse University College of Law

"Even though this is a report coming from the control of one

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