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House panel finds 'no evidence' of Trump-Russia election collusion
[WASHINGTON] A Republican-dominated House panel announced Monday that its investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election found no collusion by Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
"We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians," the majority Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said in a summary of their report.
The panel also said it accepted US intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russians had sought to interfere in the election, but rejected the idea that Moscow had specifically attempted to boost Mr Trump's White House effort.
The report had yet to be presented to Democrats on the deeply divided committee, who can be expected to object loudly, ensuring that it would not put the issue of alleged collusion to rest.
The summary made no mention of the alleged theft and leaks by Russians of embarrassing documents and communications from the campaign of Trump rival Hillary Clinton in mid-2016, which top US intelligence officials have stated as a fact.
Instead, it flipped that allegation on its head by claiming that anti-Trump research "made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign."
And it criticised Barack Obama's government for "a lackluster pre-election response to Russian active measures." "After more than a year, the committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report," said panel chair Devin Nunes.
"We hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections."