BY: TANNER KENNEY
What: Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a heavily-redacted report of its findings after closing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections on March 22nd, 2018.
When: April 27, 2018
Earlier today, Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a heavily-redacted report of their findings after closing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections on March 22nd, 2018. The production states that the committee found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government” and cited “significant intelligence tradecraft failings,” as well.
However, the Committee did acknowledge that “[i]n 2015, Russia began engaging in a covert influence campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election. The Russian government, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, sought to sow discord in American society and undermine our faith in the democratic process.” Interestingly, the report does not immediately relay the concerns of individual states regarding Russian interference in their election processes.
The release claims that “[s]ome states opted not to cooperate with important defensive measures offered by the DHS.” This claim must be rejected as it is a citation of a committee created by President Trump and led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to collect more information from states than is legally allowed; it further intimidates those who oppose and/or wish to vote Trump and his supporters out of their respective public offices.
The reaction to the report from President Trump was all-too predictable:
“Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” – Donald J. Trump, 7:14am, April 27th, 2018.
The contents and tone of the report are of no great surprise as the committee’s Chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R – CA), has fought long and hard to discredit the allegations levied against President Trump since his candidacy and derail any and all investigations into the matter. Nunes’ vitriol has been directed at a myriad of individuals, sources, and outlets reporting his appearance in the evidence collected from the FISA warrant issued for the surveillance of a former campaign policy advisor to the Trump Campaign, Carter Page.
Initially, Nunes took the bewildering step of rushing to the White House to both inform the Administration of the evidence and to prepare messaging, moving forward. The information contained within the report is even more fascinating when considering the fact that Chairman Nunes didn’t recuse himself immediately after the public reporting of his appearance in the evidence. While Nunes eventually recused himself from all matters related to the probe, he has since returned to his position with great fervor.
Furthermore, his story – and, therefore, the Committee’s – has changed repeatedly as he initially claimed the “Steele Dossier” formed the basis for the application for a FISA warrant. Nunes claimed the intelligence was the primary factor in issuing the FISA warrant, however, today’s report indicates that the the dossier merely “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application” – it makes no mention of other sources of evidence presented to the judge presiding over the FISA court and is contradicted by numerous claims made in former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.
Lastly, as it relates to the Trump’s Campaign, Transition, and Presidency, the report merely chastises the Administration for “poor judgment and ill-considered actions” in citing the Trump Tower meeting between Russian agents and Trump Campaign officials. It also manages to bring Hillary Clinton’s candidacy into the fold without nearly as much evidence to support its claims that her Campaign “paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials.”
Tanner Kenney is an energy and media professional with a background in journalism and received his M.S. in Global Affairs, Environment & Energy Policy from NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Recently, Tanner has focused on the advocacy of sustainable development through renewable energy technologies, transportation efficiency, and inclusive public policy.
Photo Credit: NY Mag
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