House GOP finds no Russia collusion, but ‘political mudslinging will continue’
There are new developments in the year-long investigation into alleged Russian meddling and collusion. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said their investigation is over, and they have found no evidence that candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians. However, the committee does claim Russia meddled in the 2016 election. The Republican majority on the panel will release a final report in the coming weeks. Democrats will write a separate report, which is expected to say that there is enough evidence to continue their investigation.
Meanwhile, investigations continue with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and in the Senate. And Richard Burr, who heads up the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that they are coming to the same conclusion as the House, and that should be announced in the coming days.
RT asked Jennifer Breedon, an attorney specializing in foreign policy, international law and religious terrorism, what she makes of the news.
RT: How significant is this?
Jennifer Breedon: It is pretty significant for many reasons. One reason is that it shows the US really is supposed to adhere to the rule of law and justification of innocence until proven guilty. We have a very strict standard of evidence, especially when it comes to things like either treason or foreign intervention. We really haven’t found that. These reports have been coming out for several months now, over the past year, and there really hasn’t been any collusion found… And so, now we have a report that is going to be written by the House GOP leaders.
As we can probably guess, this is going to enrage Democrats in Congress because they have been certainly trying to fish for evidence. And I think fishing is probably the right word at this point. Yes, there were probably inappropriate meetings. I mean, this is listed in the report that there were certainly… inappropriate meetings or meetings that shouldn’t have occurred. But, in terms of stating whether there was intentional collusion between the presidential Trump campaign and the Russian government, we haven’t found anything of that.
This is really an attempt by the GOP leaders in Congress to say “Look, we are tired of spending American taxpayers’ millions of dollars on something just because of political differences and the [desire] to paint not only President Trump in a bad light, but the Russian government in a bad light as some underhanded colluding partners here.”
We had actually a report that came out a couple of days ago from veteran journalist Bob Woodward, who stated that mainstream media in the US has actually lost their minds, so to speak, in trying to find evidence of collusion between Russia and the presidential Trump campaign. And they are not really doing their jobs.
RT: We see that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are ready to close their investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, but it seems like Democrats are going to issue their own report with different conclusions. What can we expect to see in their report?
JB: …Obviously they are going to have some of their top legal minds on this, and we are probably going to see their report… trying to show that legal definitions of collusion can certainly be reached in this, because certain Trump aids might have had an inappropriate meeting, as it may be that this would have led to collusion and that we should still keep this investigative channel open. But again, we are talking about something that we can go back to with Hillary Clinton, where she had deleted emails purposely and had them in a “secret server”… and the FBI director came out and said “It just shows the extreme carelessness, it doesn’t really amount to negligence.” This is the kind of standard we are going by. We will certainly see one of the most hypocritical reports to come out in terms of a response to this GOP memo.
RT: What purpose do you think is served by continuing the investigation into alleged Russian collusion? Is it just partisan politics keeping this alive?
JB: Unfortunately, I think it is. I always hoped to say there is somebody there who wants to truly show whether there is some underhandedness, either in government officials or colluding, or things like that. But unfortunately, I think in this case after the last two years of observing some of the anti-Trump bias in this country… when it comes to running a nation and an election happens, you win or you lose or you move on. You move on with your country, you hope the best can happen for your family. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that from political opponents of President Trump. All we’ve seen is just continuing to try to go down these different rabbit holes and trying to find collusion, trying to find any sort of wrongdoing. If this memo is very good, if this memo points at the fact that there is no collusion, that these investigations should stop, you are likely to see things like Stormy Daniels or other kinds of anti-Trump stories taking more of a front row. I don’t think that is going to stop. Unfortunately, I don’t think the American people’s interests are going to be served. It is going to continue to be political mudslinging.
Here's the 1-page summary of House Intel majority's final report on the Russia probe pic.twitter.com/NU4rd2vb5Z— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 12, 2018
‘Trump is, without a doubt, vindicated’
RT America’s Ed Schultz spoke with legal and media analyst Lionel.
RT: This is big news, especially for the president. This has gone on for over a year now. At some level, is the president vindicated?
Lionel: Without a doubt. But the investigation is not even completed. First of all, there were 300,000 documents looked at, there were 73 witnesses. But nobody ever in the course of this had ever looked at the notion of real Russian collusion, and that will be the dossier – that’ll be Fusion GPS, that will be Perkins Coie, that will be Eric Schmidt of Google, that will be the DNC, that will be Hillary Clinton. That was left out of this extremely invalid, incomplete investigation. They did also reiterate this idea that there was a ‘sowing discord,’ that there was again buying Facebook ads and the like. And they knew from the beginning there was no evidence, there was no smoking gun, there were no witnesses. They hoped during the course of this that they will put on this waste of taxpayer money to hope that somebody would flip, somebody would freak out, somebody would be maybe threatened with contempt, and maybe something would happen. They never had anything. And they knew it. What is Mueller thinking tonight? Does Mueller say “Well, they don't have everything we have?” And if Mueller had something, why didn't he assist? So, this is the person who's got the real scared look, it is Mueller.
RT: There's no question the president now has some allies on his side in the United States House, they believe that there was no collusion with the campaign or the president. Do you think from a legal perspective, does this in a sense embolden the president, give him some confidence that he can go to Mueller and do an interview of certain parameters and end all of this?
Lionel: If the president speaks with Mueller under any circumstances whatsoever, he is insane. That being said, because many people have questioned that – if he puts himself in the position, they are going to set him up for a trap. They're not going to get anything out of him, they are going to put the president under oath, find inconsistencies, they're going bring up everything from Stormy Daniels to stormy weather, to stormy Monday. You name it. They're going get him and do the old Grand Jury trick of getting him, opening him up. But right now… the question I would have for the Democrats is “Did Mueller ever ask to assist you, did you ever share evidence? What does he have that you didn't? And why wasn't the dossier – and that version of real Russian collusion – even approximated?” That's where I would have gone.
RT: It should be pointed out that in this report, that the Republicans are going to put out from the House Intelligence Committee, that they disagree with the intelligence report that was put out by James Clapper, which CNN has reported over and over again, that Vladimir Putin ordered this meddling and it was state-sponsored, which now is proven to be totally false. And you won't find Jim Sciutto anywhere on CNN tonight. But when this story broke, they quickly went to Clapper, which underscores he was their source on this all along, he has been the deep throat to keep the Clinton people happy all along on this. But CNN bought everything that Jim Clapper has said, hook, line and sinker.
Now, I guess we can come to the conclusion that all of the House Republicans are nothing but a bunch of pinko commies that think that Vladimir Putin is just the greatest guy on the face of the Earth. I mean, this is comical. They've wasted taxpayer money doing this across the board. And I want to point out one more thing to get your quick reaction to this: Hillary Clinton speaking in New Delhi India says that she lost the election because white women listen to their husbands and their bosses…
Lionel: This entire episode was about two things: the vindication of Hillary Clinton, how she in essence lost a rigged election, that's number one. And therefore, this narrative came about. And, by the by, looking at this report as a lawyer, do you know, I want anybody to look and see, anybody defining what the term Russians mean: is it Russian government? Is a Mr Putin? Who are these Russians? That is number one. It sounds like a broken record. The question that everybody, all Americans, everybody around the world should ask is – Why haven't you looked at the dossier, look at that portion of it, that is absolute proven Russian involvement, if there is such a thing.