The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined that the FBI gave the unverified anti-Trump dossier “unjustified credence,” and that Russia “took advantage” of members of the Trump transition team’s “relative inexperience in government.”
In its final report as part of a years-long bipartisan into whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 election, the Committee found “absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump” colluded with Russia.
“Over the last three years, the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a bipartisan and thorough investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and undermine our democracy,” Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a statement Tuesday. “We interviewed over 200 witnesses and reviewed over 1 million pages of documents.”
“No probe into this matter has been more exhaustive,” he added.
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“We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election,” Rubio said. “What the Committee did find, however, is very troubling.”
Rubio said the committee’s found “deeply troubling actions taken” by the FBI, “particularly their acceptance and willingness to rely on the ‘Steele Dossier’ without verifying its methodology or sourcing.”
“The committee found that the FBI gave the dossier, authored by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, ‘unjustified credence, based on an incomplete understanding of Steele’s past reporting record,’” Fox News reported.
The committee found that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s “presence on the Trump campaign and proximity to then-candidate Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump campaign.”
The committee noted that prior to Manafort joining the Trump campaign in March 2016, Manafort “directly and indirectly communicated” with Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik and other pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine.
“On numerous occasions, Manafort sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik,” the report stated, while noting that the committee was “unable to reliably determine why Manafort shared sensitive internal polling data or Campaign strategy with Kilimnik or with whom Kilimnik further shared that information.”
The committee noted that it had “limited insight” into Kilimnik’s communications with Manafort and into Kilimnik’s communications with other individuals connected to Russian influence operations, all of whom used communications security practices.
“The Committee obtained some information suggesting Kilimnik may have been connected to the GRU’s hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election,” the report stated.