CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted a short time ago that Republicans on the House Intel Committee were wrapping up the Russia probe having concluded there is no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign:
NEWS: GOP on House Intel reach conclusion: No evidence of collusion between Trump camp and Russia. GOP draft report will also contend that evidence does NOT support intel community assessment that PUTIN tried to help Trump win. Ds yet to see report. https://t.co/jeFAQc1hi2?amp=1
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 12, 2018
The link in that tweet goes to a story which has a much more modest headline and lede paragraph:
The House Intelligence Committee has concluded its interviews for the investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign operation and Russia, a move that signals the beginning of the end for the panel’s Russia probe, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the Russia investigation, is expected to announce Monday that the committee has concluded its interviews and will now be moving onto writing a final report summarizing its findings…
The committee is widely expected to issue two competing reports: one from Republicans that concludes no evidence of collusion was found, and another from Democrats that argues a case for collusion, as well as spells out all the avenues the committee did not investigate.
In another sign of the partisan tensions, the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, had not been told as of midafternoon Monday that Republicans planned to end the witness interview portion of the Russia investigation, according to a Democratic source.
So the CNN story, at least as I’m writing this, says no more interviews and takes that as a signal that final reports, one by each party, will soon be written. But there’s nothing in the story backing up the tweet regarding “no evidence of collusion.” However, Raju tweeted this a short time later:
MORE: Burr just told me he’s seen “NO” evidence of collusion yet and no evidence yet to substantiate 2017 IC assessment that Putin sought to aid Trump. Asked about efforts by Russians to coordinate w Trump camp, he said: “It’s collusion on part of the Russians not the Trump camp”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 12, 2018
Sen. Richard Burr is the Senator who leads the Senate Intel investigation. So it seems he is backing up the conclusion the House Intel Committee intends to reach. But again, CNN hasn’t updated its story to back up the initial tweet. Burr’s statement is obviously a big departure from what the IC has said about Russia’s goals, i.e. to hurt Hillary and help Trump.
As for the second part of his statement, Burr seems to be a little confused about the meaning of collusion, which implies some kind of coordinated action between two parties. You can’t have one-sided collusion any more than you can hear the sound of one hand clapping. If the Trump campaign wasn’t wittingly involved with the Russians then you don’t have collusion at all, you just have Russian meddling. That’s a real problem but not one that will lead to firings, impeachment, etc.
Earlier this month, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, appeared on the View to once again tease out the collusion narrative (of course when confronted he never has any actual proof). Former Secretary of State Condi Rice, who also happened to be a guest that day, told him, ” I appreciate what you’re doing for the country, but I really hope you can wrap it up.” She added, “The country needs to get back to business, so my greatest hope is that this gets done.”
Condi was right. We’ve been traveling this same road for more than a year. There is a Special Counsel who everyone acknowledges is going to be the final word on this story. All we’ve seen out of the House probe are partisan leaks and Rep. Schiff making a second career out of his media hits. Let’s wrap this circus up and move on.
CNN notes that this still leaves two ongoing investigations in the Senate. One of those, in the Judiciary Committee, also seems to be close to wrapping up. That leaves the Senate Intelligence Committee to sort this out (and it seems Burr is on board with the House). But again, Mueller is the real show here. His findings on collusion will be the final word.