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Trump-Russia investigation: Senate probe finds no direct evidence of collusion during 2016 election

The Senate investigation is wrapping up after nearly two years, but at least two other notable investigations will continue

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 13 February 2019 08:40 GMT
Ivanka Trump says she has 'zero concern' over Mueller investigation

The Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching an end to its two year investigation into meddling in the 2016 election, and Democrats and Republicans on the committee both say they have found no direct evidence to connect the Trump campaign in a conspiracy with Russia.

Beyond the direct evidence, however, the investigators are split on party lines regarding how much can be gleaned from the patterns of evidence they gathered over the past two years through over 200 interviews.

That evidence includes contacts made between Donald Trump associates and Russians before, during, and after the Russian-link Democratic emails.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the committee, told CBS News in an interview last week.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Mr Burr continued, recognising that there is still more to uncover in the investigation.

Ranking member Mark Warner disagree with the characterisation, but refused on Tuesday to draw conclusions from the evidence.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” Mr Warner said. ”There’s never been a campaign in American history ... that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did”.

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Democrats speaking with anonymity told NBC News that they also dispute the way that Mr Burr spoke about the committee’s findings.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude’”, one told the news network.

The Senate committee probe is just one of several investigations that have been launched since 2016 to look into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 campaign. In addition to the Senate, Democrats recently reopened an investigation in the House, and the special counsel probe is ongoing.

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