Republicans Ending House Russia Probe Over Democrats' Objections

The chairman of the House committee looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election said on Monday the panel was ending its investigation, despite demands from Democrats to pursue further questioning of people close to President Donald Trump.

"After more than a year, the committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report," the chairman, Devin Nunes of California, said in a statement. "Once the committee's final report is issued, we hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections."

The Republicans said they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. They plan to release their report to Democratic members of the committee on Tuesday.

While Republicans have been saying for several weeks that the committee's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign was winding down, Nunes' announcement was likely to further inflame the partisanship that has consumed the panel almost since the start of the inquiry on Jan. 10, 2017. The two parties haven't even been able to agree on the scope of their investigation into Russian meddling and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it.

Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, who has been leading the inquiry, said last week that he'd like the final report to be a bipartisan effort, and that "it shouldn't take long" given that the panel has gathered material for more than a year. But Democrats are expected to write their own report, given the list of witnesses they say haven't testified and documents they say haven't been pursued by the majority.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the Intelligence panel's top Democrat, said in Feb. 28 statement that there are "dozens of important witnesses who have yet been invited," and others who have refused to answer direct questions "of core investigative interest to the committee, and have asserted unprecedented and risible claims of privilege."

The Democrats argue that the committee should call back some witnesses, including Donald Trump Jr. and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Panel members also remain unsatisfied with the testimony of two other high-profile witnesses close to Trump, former advisers Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. The Democrats also say the committee has failed to pursue vital documents, including financial and communications records held by third-party service providers.

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