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National Govt & Politics
Five takeaways from House GOP report clearing Trump on Russia collusion
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Five takeaways from House GOP report clearing Trump on Russia collusion

Five takeaways from House GOP report clearing Trump on Russia collusion
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Five takeaways from House GOP report clearing Trump on Russia collusion

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are handing over to Democrats a draft report on the probe into Russian interference in the last election for President, as the GOP found no evidence of any type of coordination or conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign, ending what has been a protracted partisan battle on the panel about the Russia investigation.

For President Donald Trump, it was exactly that outcome that he had long been calling for, repeatedly charging that this was nothing but a 'witch hunt,' claiming it was sour grapes for Democrats looking to figure out why Hillary Clinton had lost.

Mr. Trump produced an all-caps tweet to mark the news.

Let's take a look at what we learned from the GOP announcement:

1. GOP: No collusion, no coordination, no Trump problems. In a one page outline of their findings, Republicans said they would detail Russian cyber attacks in 2015-2016, and a "lackluster pre-election response" by the Obama Administration. The GOP will also continue its push to argue that the Clinton campaign was using anti-Trump research "from Russian sources" - most likely a reference to the Steele Dossier, along with what was described as "problematic contacts" between the news media and the Intelligence Community. “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the House GOP stated in a one page release.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

2. Not the finest hour for the Congress. Let's be honest, the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian meddling will not go down in Capitol Hill history as an example of bipartisan cooperation. It evaporated soon after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) suddenly rushed to the White House to proclaim that there was evidence of Obama Administration wrongdoing on 'unmasking,' which Democrats said was nothing but a diversion. It reached a high point when the GOP suddenly unveiled its own memo on one small part of the Russia probe to allege FBI investigator misconduct. There was even talk of building a wall in the committee office to separate the staff by party. That's not how this is supposed to work. This was not Sam Ervin and Howard Baker. In fact, one Republican on the panel, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), admitted last night that the committee had "gone off the rails."

3. Not a complete investigation of Trump-Russia. If there is one person who is central to contacts between Russia and top Trump officials, that would be former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has already pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents when asked about speaking during the transition with the Russian Ambassador to the United States. But Flynn was never brought before the House Intelligence Committee for questioning. Neither was George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump, who actions may have spurred the initial FBI investigation in July 2016. Flynn and Papadopoulos have both already entered guilty pleas for lying to investigators. We'll see whether they merit much of a mention in the final GOP report.

Jamie Dupree
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russia302

Jamie Dupree

4. Some questions unanswered. Some subpoenas never sent. Not only were some key players never interviewed, but a number of witnesses reportedly refused to answer a series of questions, often at the behest of the White House. Hope Hicks. Donald Trump, Jr. Corey Lewandowski. Steve Bannon. It left Democrats exasperated, as they charged that Republicans were doing all they could to shield the President. But like the GOP memo on the Carter Page investigation, Democrats will get the chance to write their own report as well. As mentioned above, it's a messy ending to what could have been a bipartisan probe of Russian election interference. But it wasn't in the cards in 2017-2018.

5. The Russians like what they hear. Not afraid to weigh in on social media on U.S. political battles, the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. gave the thumbs up to the quotes of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who headed the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference. Some might say the election trolling continues.

One reminder - this investigation is far from over. The Senate Intelligence continues its work. And Special Counsel Mueller does as well.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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  • A Florida woman faced a judge Wednesday in connection with the death of a 4-year-old boy. >> Watch the news report here On Tuesday night, the Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested Mariah Butler of Orlando on charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child and neglect of a child. >> On WFTV.com: Boy, 4, dies after being found in SUV parked outside school Investigators said Logan Starling, the son of Butler's boyfriend, was left inside a hot SUV in the parking lot of the Elite Preparatory Academy in October 2018. Detectives said four other children got out of the SUV and went into the school at about 8:20 a.m., but Starling didn’t exit the car.  Court documents show Butler, who worked at the school, was asked during the day where her stepson, Logan, was. The documents also stated that it wasn't until she was asked again at the end of the day that she realized the child was still in the car. >> On WFTV.com: Stepmother of boy who died in hot SUV quits job after receiving death threats Authorities said Butler found Starling in the third row of the SUV, leaning against the window with his eyes closed.  The school's director carried Starling to a nearby fire station, authorities said. Starling was then taken to a hospital, where his body temperature was recorded at 108 degrees. For perspective, doctors say a fever above 104 degrees can cause brain damage. The investigation also showed the inside temperature of the car was 121 degrees when the boy was removed. Investigators believe he was in the car for six hours.  Butler claimed she remembered Starling getting out of the SUV and that she locked the doors when they were walking into the school. >> Read more trending news  Documents said Butler believed Starling got into the SUV later, but she wasn’t sure how. She said during an interview that Starling suffered from autism and was known for wandering around. But arrest documents show Starling’s teacher disputed that claim, and video showed the child never left the SUV. 'You were arrested pursuant to a probable cause capias, where probable cause was previously found for the offense of aggravated manslaughter of a child and neglect of a child,” the judge said in court. Butler was ordered to remain in the Orange County Jail on $15,000 bail. Logan's family believes the bond was set too low. Butler was later able to bond out of jail Wednesday evening. 'Six months of no punishment for Mariah seemed like six years,' said Logan's great grandfather Roy Werner. 'But six months of Logan being gone seems like six days.
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Washington Insider

  • Apart from a few GOP voices in the U.S. House and Senate, most Republican lawmakers in Congress had little to say in recent days about President Donald Trump's continuing attacks on the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), as the President used a speech in Ohio on Wednesday to launch an extended series of jabs as the former POW. 'I have to be honest - I've never liked him much,' Mr. Trump said at a speech at a tank production plant in Lima, Ohio. With Congress on break this week, many Republicans stayed away from the tide of remarks by the President, as only a handful of GOP officials stood up to tell Mr. Trump to back off, and leave the dead U.S. Senator alone. 'It’s deplorable what he said,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said of President Trump in a Wednesday radio interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting.  “That’s what I called it from the floor of the Senate seven months ago. It will be deplorable seven months from now if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out,' said Isakson, who has been one of McCain's few public defenders in the GOP to push back directly at Mr. Trump. 'John McCain is an American hero and I am thankful for his life of service and legacy to our country and Arizona,' said Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who now holds his seat in Congress - though McSally did not directly mention the President in her statement. But Rep. Peter King R-NY, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) were outliers, as some supporters said the President was needlessly picking a fight - with a dead man - which he will never win. 'President 0. Dead Man 1,' wrote conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson. 'Let's be a little less coo-coo,' said Anthony Scaramucci on CNN Thursday morning, who served in the White House for a very short period of time in 2017, but remains a strong supporter of the President. Here's the President's full remarks about McCain from the Wednesday event: In a late night email sent to reporters on Wednesday, the McCain Institute pushed back - without mentioning the President by name - as the group defended the late GOP Senator, and one time Republican nominee for President in 2008. 'John McCain was held for 5 years in a Vietnamese prison and brutally tortured,' the group wrote, offering a laundry list of supportive items from his resume in the military and in Congress. 'John McCain always called on America to stand up for its values of freedom and democracy,' the group added, as even in death, McCain was still embroiled in battles with President Trump.