Rep. Mike Conaway: 'No evidence of collusion' and no Russian preference for Trump

Yesterday, CNN Manu Raju published a tweet about the end of the House Intelligence Committee probe and the conclusion it had reached, i.e. no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, CNN’s story (co-written by Raju) never did back that up with much detail. But last night, Rep. Mike Conaway appeared on Fox News and talked in some detail about the committee’s findings, at least as the GOP majorit sees it.

In an appearance on Special Report, Rep. Conaway focused on the finding about collusion saying, “Yes, the Russians tried to interfere with our elections process. Yes, they had cyber attacks, active measures going on. We could find no evidence of collusion between either campaign and the Russians.”

Asked if the Mueller investigation might come to a different conclusion, Conaway replied, “I don’t want to go there. We’re not having anything to do whatsoever with the Mueller investigation. He’s got separate tools, separate authorities and everything else and I hope he does a terrific job of whatever it is he’s doing.” Conaway continued, “But we didn’t find any evidence of collusion and I don’t know that he will either.”

Not mentioned in this interview was another big conclusion suggested yesterday by CNN: That there is no evidence Russia sought to help the Trump campaign win the election. However, that did come up when Rep. Conaway appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show.

Asked about the published intelligence community assessment, Conaway said, “Nighty-eight percent of what they did on that ICA we agree with.” He continued, “We had two trained analysts and two trained professionals go through that with a fine-toothed comb, all the underlying documents, thousands of pages of documents. And the piece about…Putin purported preference for Trump, we think is not supported by the evidence.”

Asked why the intel community would reach the conclusion it did if the conclusion is not backed up by evidence, Conaway seemed to point to partisanship, “We’ll have to ask them but we believe that we disagree with them. That thing started early December and was finished in January, coinciding with an attack on the Trump presidency throughout that time frame by other issues, things going on. And this seemed to underpin that narrative that somehow Putin had more effect on the election than he should have and it delegitimatize…the Trump presidency. It was part of that narrative.”

“It sounds like a political statement they were making,” Tucker Carlson suggested.

Conaway replied, “Well it looks like it but like I said, 98% of what they did in the ICA we think is—the tradecraft, there is tradecraft associated with analytics and we think that was properly followed but just on that one about Putin’s alleged preference for Trump, it was not supported.”

When Carlson asked about the reliability of the claim that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails, Conaway replied that he felt “comfortable believing that the Russian government was behind the hackers.”

Rep. Conaway made clear in both interviews that one reason for wrapping this up now is the approach of election season. He said he wants as much information out as possible so people can make up their own minds about what happened. Democrats on the committee, led by Adam Schiff, have denounced the decision to wrap up the probe and are expected to release their own alternative report.

Here’s the Tucker Carlson interview: