(CNSNews.com) - The House intelligence committee on Monday announced that it has ended the interview phase of its 14-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In short, committee Republicans say they found no "collusion" between either the Trump campaign and Russia -- or the Clinton campaign and Russia.
The news drew boos from some committee Democrats but a loud cheer from President Donald Trump, who tweeted in all capital letters Monday night: "THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION."
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the top Republican leading the "collusion" investigation, told Fox News the intelligence committee has answered the four questions guiding its investigation:
Well, the headlines are that we've reached that point where we've interviewed all the folks we need to. We've looked at some 300,000 documents, 73 interviews that we've done, trying to answer the four questions that were set out for the committee to answer:
Yes, the Russians tried to interfere with our election process; yes, they had cyber-attacks, active measures, going on. We could find no evidence of collusion between either campaign and the Russians. And we also have some recommendations -- will have recommendations, that speak to what we do with elections going forward -- how important it is for Americans to be on guard on a process that's sacred to our democracy, our representative republic, quite frankly, and that is, the electing of leadership across this country.
Host John Roberts pressed Conaway on whether the committee found any "collusion" at all.
"No evidence," Conaway said.
"No evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians," Roberts repeated.
"Or the Clinton campaign," Conaway said.
"We found none," Conaway continued. "And so, you never know what you never know, but we found no reason to think that there's something we are missing in this regard.
"We've talked to everybody we think, we believe, we need to talk to. And, you know, every congressional investigation has always got a caveat, that, you know, ten years from now, some private diary might be found that leads to a different conclusion, but we'll address that as a part of our ongoing, constant oversight responsibilities...But with respect to answering these four questions, we believe we've got the information necessary to answer them for the American people."
As for collusion between the Clinton campaign and the Russians, Conaway said the committee found nothing "direct."
"Obviously, the Steele dossier, Steele is a British citizen. He talked to some level of Russians, third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-hand...He was paid by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton committee. We don't believe there was any direct information provided (by the Russians) to the DNC or to Hillary's campaign...It was a British citizen that was actually feeding this information in."
Conaway said the intel committee may recommend that campaign finance disclosures "ought to be a little more fulsome than they currently are. You shouldn't be able to hide those kinds of activities behind a lawyer's bill...So there will be some recommendations that we think that will speak to maybe fuller disclosures as to where money is spent."
Asked if the Mueller investigation is likely to find anything different than the House committee did, Conaway said he didn't want to "go there."
"We're not having anything to do whatsoever with the Mueller investigation. He's got separate tools, separate authorities and everything else. I hope he does a terrific job with whatever it is he's doing. But we didn't find any evidence of collusion, and I don't know that he will, either."
Conaway said it's no surprise that some Democrats on the committee are complaining that the House has wrapped up its probe.
They "wanted to continue this investigation," Conaway said. "Maybe some on the Democratic side that never want this to have a conclusion, because they sense it has some sort of advantage to them keep this wound open. We believe it's important to move forward. We have got elections coming up. Primary season has already started and we have important things to discuss with the American people about protecting our election process."
Asked if leaks from the intelligence community to the media rise to the level of criminality, Conaway said such leaks "certainly" are criminal. He said the committee hoped the Trump administration would be more "aggressive" in going after leaks, which can be "dangerous."