Last week the House Intelligence Committee ended its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with the Republican members of the committee issuing a report claiming that it found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, while the Democratic members vehemently disagreed.
Now, Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX), who chaired the committee’s probe after Rep. Devin Nunes was forced to recuse himself when he was caught lying about his own collusion with the White House, has told NBC’s Meet The Press that the committee was never given the responsibility of investigating the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia, despite issuing a report denying any evidence of it.
“Our committee was not charged with answering the collusion idea,” Conaway told Meet The Press host Chuck Todd. “So we really weren’t focused on that direction.”
Democrats harshly criticized the conclusions that the Republican members of the committee published, correctly stating that there were numerous witnesses, including the admittedly guilty George Papadopoulos, who had never been interviewed by the panel, as the GOP members sought to make sure that no stone was ever turned in their investigation.
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Rep. Conaway contradicted his own statements and twisted words around to make the fine distinction between the president’s claim that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia and the Republican committee members’ conclusion that they found no evidence of collusion, a distinction that becomes meaningless with Conaway’s assertion that finding that evidence was never their mission.
“What we said is we found no evidence of it,” he said. “That’s a different statement. We found no evidence of collusion.”
While one may not find a rat dropping in your soup if you’re not looking for it, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t in there, but one would certainly hope that the health inspectors believe that it’s their responsibility to make sure that the kitchen is spotless and not limit their inspection to the expiration dates on the eggs.
Conaway cited a desire to not conflict with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s broad-based probe into the Trump campaign’s dubious activities as the excuse for not delving deeper into the investigation. He then said, however, that they didn’t interview Papadopoulos, who has admitted that he tried to set up meetings with Russian officials for the campaign, because he had no major role in the organization, despite Papadopoulos having contacts with senior members of the Trump campaign on at least a dozen occasions.
You can watch a clip of Rep. Conaway on Meet the Press in the video below.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 18, 2018