Since day one, Donald Trump’s presidency has operated under investigation into possible collusion. This week, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced that they had found “no evidence” of Russian collusion to help then-candidate Donald Trump win the 2016 election.
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) disagrees.
In order to prove collusion, there are three central claims that have to be taken into account and proven:
- Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
- Russia preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.
- Donald Trump and his campaign knew this and reciprocated.
The first two have been well established by intelligence agencies, and the substantive nature of the claims has been enough to garner 13 indictments against Russian nationals, 3 against Russian companies, and 5 guilty pleas from individuals directly connected to Donald Trump or his campaign.
In the words of the committee, “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” It is an interesting choice of words, considering that Rick Gates, former Trump campaign deputy manager, pled guilty to exactly that – conspiracy.
Despite this bevy of evidence, the president has denied all three claims. His is now-fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson even failed to spend money apportioned by Congress to combat future Russian election meddling.
Representative Rooney claims that “there is evidence” the Russians worked to help Trump. In an interview with CNN, he gave his rationale for calling for the committee to publish its findings and disband:
“We’ve gone completely off the rails, and now we’re just basically a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day’s news. We’ve lost all credibility, and we’re going to issue probably two different reports, unfortunately.”
The president was apparently ecstatic at the findings.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
It’s possible that the House closing their investigation could put pressure on Special Counsel Robert Mueller to do the same. However, he’s given no indication of slowing down.
Image provided via flickr