The partisan divide in American politics worsened on Friday after a Republican-dominated Congressional panel released a redacted version of their final report of a year-long probe into Russia's alleged influencing of the 2016 US Presidential election that absolved the Trump campaign of collusion with Moscow and instead trained its guns on the intelligence community and Democrats. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, promised to provide unspecified incriminating evidence about Clinton, but spent the bulk of the half-hour conversation with the three Trump associates lobbying for repeal of certain USA sanctions on influential figures in Russian Federation.
The House Intelligence Committee report, which was disputed by Democrats and released over their objections, provides virtually no public information to back up its conclusion about Flynn's interactions with the agents - as most of the section explaining that finding is redacted.
Trump has adamantly insisted neither he nor his campaign colluded with the effort and has been resolute in his belief the Russian effort did not bolster his chances of winning. Schiff cited several "secret meetings and communication" between people linked to Russian Federation and Trump campaign officials including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump Jr. "Wow! A total Witch Hunt!". The probe, they insisted, is not over yet.
Trump quickly claimed vindication Friday morning on Twitter, writing, "Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released".
President Donald Trump took to Twitter late Friday to declare that the House Intelligence Committee's report proved that "no collusion" existed between his campaign and Russian Federation and slammed special counsel Robert Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt".
The committee also did not agree with assessments that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton.
"I was very honored by the report", President Trump said from the White House.
Russian Federation worked to sow discord in the United States through social media and cyberattacks, intelligence panel said in a lengthy report published on Friday.
Democrats, who account for nine of the committee's 22 members, have contested the report's findings.
Committee Democrats, Schiff said at the time, would continue to investigate with or without the Republican majority.
Intelligence experts have concluded Russian Federation did it to help Trump win.
The public portion of the report does not make clear where that information came from - whether from Comey or another source.
While the committee posted a copy of the report online, investigation leader Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, complained about the heavy redactions made by the intelligence community. "Numerous redactions include information that is publicly available, such as witness names and information previously declassified", he said in a statement.
"I don't believe the information we're releasing today meets that standard, which is why my team and I will continue to challenge the IC's many unnecessary redactions with the hopes of releasing more of the report in the coming months", he said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks to reporters, March 22, 2018.