The House Intelligence Committee report on Russia doesn't change these 5 facts
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/14/2018, 8:56 a.m.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) -- The news that House Republicans have ended their investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election -- concluding that there was no collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians and that Russia was not working to improve Trump's chances -- is being seized on as proof positive that this whole matter is not settled.
"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," Trump tweeted soon after the House Intelligence Committee announced that it had concluded its work.
Here's the issue: The findings of the House Intelligence Committee is one data point among many. It is not determinative of anything. It is the view of a handful of House Republicans. That's it.
Here are five facts that remain true about the ongoing investigations into Russia's active interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion with the Trump campaign.
1. This is a finding of only the Republicans on the committee. Democrats, led by ranking member Adam Schiff of California, believe that the investigation has been cut short for political reasons. On Tuesday night, Schiff announced that the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee would release a 20-plus-page document detailing the results of the investigation as well as areas that they believe were simply not explored fully. Schiff added that there was "significant evidence" of collusion, although he wouldn't say whether it rose to a criminal level.
2. The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation continues. While the House committee's probe has been hampered by partisanship almost since the start of this Russia investigation, the Senate side has worked together on a much more bipartisan basis. Chairman Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican, has repeatedly said that while he has seen no evidence of collusion, this remains an ongoing investigation and he will withhold judgment until be sees the whole picture.
3. The Intelligence Community has unanimously concluded Russia meddled to help Trump. This is important. While the House Republicans say that the Russians weren't trying to help Trump (and hurt Hillary Clinton), that goes against a document the Intelligence Community released last January about Russian meddling.
"The CIA just got it wrong," Rep. Chris Stewart, the Utah Reupblican, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night. But, that understates it. It's not just the CIA -- it's the NSA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. All of those entities signed onto the January 2017 document that made clear that a) there was Russian interference in the election and b) that it was aimed at helping Trump and hurting Clinton.
4. Republicans are shaky on whether Russia wanted Trump to win. While the conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee appears to be that Russia was out to sow chaos rather than help Trump and hurt Clinton, not everyone -- even on the Republican side -- is reading from that playbook.