The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its investigation into Trump-Russia collusion because well there was none. That, however, didn’t stop the media and the Democrats from colluding to try and downplay the significance of the finding.
Lately Democrats have accused Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee of prematurely shutting down the Trump-Russia investigation without interviewing many key witnesses. The committee “obtained either no or incomplete information about 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and Russians, or groups and individuals with strong Russia ties like WikiLeaks,” NBC reported Thursday.
“The House Intelligence Committee shuttered its investigation today, concluding they had found no evidence of collusion,” NBC’s Heidi Przbyla said on “Hardball.” “We’ll have a new report … showing they overlooked 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and the Russians.”
“Nunes — don’t know nothing,” said host Chris Matthews, referring to the committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes.
Here is more:
NBC relied on a study by something called the Moscow Project, which is part of the lefty think tank Center for American Progress. On Thursday, the Project claimed there were “at least 70 known contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition,” and that “in 81 percent of these cases, the House Intel committee obtained either no or partial information from the relevant Trump representative.”
Is that true? Did the House Intelligence Committee really fail to interview the vast majority of those people? The answer is no, it’s not true. Here is the actual story:
The Moscow Project listed the following Trump associates who “had contacts with Russians during the campaign or transition”: Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, Jeff Sessions, J.D. Gordon, Carter Page, Erik Prince, and Anthony Scaramucci.
According to the House Intelligence Committee and public reports, committee investigators, which could include members as well as staff and always included Democrats, interviewed Cohen, Trump Jr., Kushner, Stone, Sessions, Gordon, Page, and Prince.
Again, Democrats participated in the interviews and had a chance to question each witness.
Of the Trump figures the committee did not interview: Manafort was invited to testify and agreed, Republicans say, but his appearance was delayed at Democrats’ request — and then Manafort was indicted and became off limits because of the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn was subpoenaed, and then became off limits because of Mueller. Papadopoulos was invited to testify, and then he, too, became off limits because of Mueller.
Together, that is 11 of the 12 people the Moscow Project listed as having “contacts with Russians” during the campaign or transition. (A word later on the 12th person, Anthony Scaramucci.)
The Project also listed other Trump associates who “were reportedly aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives”: Corey Lewandowski, Rick Gates, Hope Hicks, Sam Clovis, Stephen Miller, K.T. McFarland, Tom Bossert, Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, and Sean Spicer.
It turns out the committee interviewed Lewandowski, Hicks, Clovis, and Bannon. As for Gates, the committee invited him to testify, but, like Manafort and others, he was indicted and became off limits because of the special counsel investigation.
That leaves Scaramucci, from the first group, plus Miller, McFarland, Priebus, Bossert, and Spicer. Here is what a committee spokesman said about them: “We don’t have any reason to believe these individuals have any unique knowledge pertinent to our investigation. Their inclusion on this list is a frivolous attempt to embarrass these people and insinuate that they are somehow involved in the Great Collusion Conspiracy. Read the actual allegations published by The Moscow Project — they’re transparently ridiculous, classic McCarthyist guilt-by-insinuation and innuendo.”
York debunks it:
So the key measurement, according to the Moscow Project, is contacts. But take a closer look and it appears the Moscow Project did everything it could to pump up the number of contacts between Trump figures and Russians.
For example, the Project report — amplified by NBC and others — noted that on April 10, 2016, Papadopoulos emailed a person known as the Female Russian National. On April 11, the Female Russian National emailed Papadopoulos back. Papadopoulos replied on the same day. And, still on April 11, the Female Russian National replied to Papadopoulos.
The Moscow Project counts that exchange as four contacts, which seems like an effort to inflate the numbers.
But even assume there were 70 legitimate contacts between Trump figures and Russians. As it turns out, 30 of the 70 contacts listed by the Project involved Trump people who were interviewed by the committee, while 39 others involved Trump people the committee tried to interview but could not, due to the Mueller investigation.
Put them all together, and that’s 69 of the 70 contacts — in other words, all but one of the contacts cited by the Moscow Project involved Trump people who were either interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee or people the committee made an effort to interview but could not because of the special counsel probe. (The last one — the only contact not in one of those two categories — was Scaramucci’s conversation with a Russian in Davos shortly before the Trump inauguration.)
The bottom line is, the House committee made an effort to interview the key figures in the Trump-Russia affair, and succeeded most of the time. When the Moscow Project, and NBC, and other news organizations, say the committee failed to explore 81 percent of the “known contacts” between Trump figures and Russians — do not believe it.
I highly suggest you read his entire piece by clicking the link above but this shows a truly amazing thing. York’s research proves that the House investigation was thorough and had no Republicans stonewalling it. In fact, it proves that the only thing stonewalling congressional investigations was Mueller. Had Mueller never been appointed they would have had been able to hear from all of the contacts and likely would already have wrapped this up. Instead, Mueller continues to work behind the scenes in private with the only oversight from Rod Rosenstein who isn’t very interested in making sure the investigation is fair at all. Bottom line out of all of this is no collusion was found and Mueller won’t be in line to have any luck himself.