The top Republican leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference said that the committee took issue with how the intelligence community reached the conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to help Donald Trump win the election — not the conclusion itself.
The group of intelligence officials who wrote the government’s official assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. election, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway said, did not meet the appropriate standards to make the determination of Putin’s preference.
But, he told reporters, “it was clear Putin was trying to hurt Hillary.”
“The issue we have is with the analytic tradecraft,” he said. “Everyone gets to make their own mind whether or not they are trying to hurt Hillary or help Trump — whatever it is, it is kind of the glass half full, glass half empty depending how you look at it.”
Conaway announced the end of the committee’s probe on Monday afternoon and laid out a number of the top-line conclusions reached by GOP members in their initial report.
Among those conclusions, Conaway said, will be an assertion that investigators “couldn’t establish the same conclusion that the CIA did that the Russians specifically wanted to help Trump.”
The report will also assert that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Conaway said.
The announcement was met with a triumphant all-caps response from Donald Trump.
“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.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Conaway says no question Russians sought to hurt Clinton, but says it's open to interpretation on whether that means help Trump. His real issue, he says, is with how the CIA used analytical standards to base its conclusion that Putin wanted Trump to win. https://t.co/X6amHVkXHN
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 13, 2018