As it begins to wrap up its investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found “any direct evidence” that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, according to a report on Tuesday.
“After two years and interviewing more than 200 witnesses, the Senate intelligence Committee has not uncovered any direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” NBC correspondent Ken Dilanian said told MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson.
She appeared stunned by the revelation.
“Not to put too fine a point on it, but I want to make sure I’m understanding this,” Jackson said. “If and when the president, as he may inevitably do, point to this reporting, point to these conclusions and says look, the Senate intelligence committee found I’m not guilty of conspiracy, he would be correct in saying that?”
“He’ll be partially right,” Dilanian responded, adding the committee doesn’t decide guilt.
The NBC report noted that the GOP chairman of the committee made similar comments last week about collusion.
“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,” said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina in an interview with CBS.
NBC said the committee’s final report will question the campaign’s judgment after associates and some Trump family members had contact with a number of Russians.
“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,’” one Democratic aide said, referring to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
A Democratic Senate investigator told NBC that Donald Trump Jr. admitted in messages that he would accept help from the Russians.
“Trump publicly urged the Russians to find Clinton’s missing emails,” the person said.
The House Intelligence Committee, then under Republican control, said last year that it did not find evidence of collusion, but Democrats dismissed the findings as highly partisan.
Since Democrats are now the majority in the House, the committee under the leadership of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), has launched a new round of probes into Trump, including into his personal finances.
And special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is still running.
Mueller and his team have indicted or gotten guilty pleas from former Trump campaign advisers, including Paul Manafort, and former administration officials, including Michael Flynn, the one-time national security adviser.