The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released its fifth and final installment of a report on allegations of Russian collusion with the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
Although the panel did express some concerns about the circumstances surrounding certain aspects of the campaign, members generally upheld previous conclusions that there was no direct evidence of collusion with Russian assets, as reported by the Washington Times.
For the most part, the report mirrored the outcome of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the same basic allegations.
Among the notable new revelations, however, was a concession that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort did constitute a concern based on his ties to the Russian government.
The committee further found that Russian operatives were hoping to exploit the inexperience of Trump’s transition team following his victory in 2016.
Finally, the report stated that the president was watching WikiLeaks like a hawk in an effort to use any potential leak of rival Hillary Clinton’s emails to benefit his own campaign.
While there were a few points of concern aimed at the Trump campaign, the bigger loser was arguably the FBI. Federal investigators were raked over the coals for their handling of evidence in the case.
According to the committee, the FBI failed to properly verify the allegations made against Trump in the infamous dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele — despite the fact that the document was a significant reason the investigation was prolonged.
“Steele’s reporting lacked rigor and transparency about the quality of the sourcing,” the report concluded.
In a statement after the report was released, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that the committee found “irrefutable evidence of Russian meddling” in the 2016 election.
“And we discovered deeply troubling actions taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particularly their acceptance and willingness to rely on the ‘Steele dossier’ without verifying its methodology or sourcing,” he added.
Trump has long referred to the investigation into alleged Russian collusion as a “witch hunt.” Given the findings of the most recent Senate Intelligence Committee report, the president’s position appears to have become even easier to defend.