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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Reprinted with permission from

On Monday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced the impending release of their Russia report. But a number of people in the party, including Rep. Mike Conaway who led the investigation, are already starting to distance themselves from it.

The report is slated to allege not only no collusion between Trump and Russia, but no active attempt by Russia to help Trump or hurt Hillary Clinton.

On Monday night, Republican Rep. Tom Rooney slammed his colleagues for their hasty and transparently political conclusion, lamenting that the committee has “lost all credibility.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy — who is so famously fixated on sabotaging Clinton that he once fired an Air Force reservist for not digging up evidence against her — also admitted that Russian interference was motivated partly “by a desire” to hurt her.

And Conaway, who strongly defended the report, gave an incomprehensible half-repudiation of its conclusions when challenged by CNN’s Manu Raju.

After admitting that the Russians had sought to “hurt” Clinton, Conaway was asked by Raju how that is any different from wanting to help Trump.

“Glass half full, glass half empty. You can pitch that either way,” Conaway said.

He then added that the GOP only disputed the CIA’s “analytical tradecraft” and that it is “irrelevant” that Mueller’s prosecutors have accused Russian operatives of trying to help Trump.

It is understandable that Conaway and other Republicans could not keep their story straight. Because the committee’s conclusion is preposterous.

The idea there was “no collusion” is contradicted by basic facts already known to the public, including multiple indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, the meeting at Trump Towerbetween Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, and Trump loyalist Erik Prince’s visit to Seychelles to set up a backchannel with Kremlin officials.

The Republican story is already falling to pieces. And even Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill are aware of it.