Despite the fact that a more thorough and independent investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election has not yet been completed, Republicans in the House of Representatives have made their own ruling. The House Intelligence Committee announced that they found no evidence of any collusion by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The committee even went a step further than most federal government intelligence agencies have been willing to go. Leaders of the committee found that the Russians did not specifically try to help the Trump presidential campaign despite agreeing that they did generally try to interfere with the election.
While it is very possible that former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the independent investigation on this matter, will find no evidence of collusion as well, most observers seem to believe that at minimum Russia did favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Much evidence has already emerged that Russians attempted to establish relationships with members of the president’s campaign during the 2016 election season. Meanwhile, plenty of evidence has emerged that has shown Russians peddling false news stories via American social media in ways that seem to have clearly favored Trump over Clinton.
While most people had low expectations for the partisan committee inside of the House of Representatives in terms of it being truly independent from President Trump, some feel that the committee’s conclusions are problematic nonetheless. House Democrats criticized the committee’s findings, noting in particular that it should have waited for the special counsel’s work to conclude before releasing anything.
Meanwhile, Mueller has been expanding his investigation in his role as special counsel in the matter of Russian connections to President Trump’s campaign. While it is unclear what he will ultimately conclude, he has already indicted several members of the president’s campaign as well as numerous Russian citizens. It is certainly possible that his investigation could go on for a long time, and it could gain steam in terms of implicating people close to President Trump.
It appears that House Republicans are betting on it being likely that Mueller will ultimately find no evidence of collusion as well. Given that it is an election year, at least for members of the House of Representatives and for one-third of the members of the Senate, some voters might be unhappy with Republican members of Congress if it turns out they came to their conclusion on this topic too hastily.