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Rep. Turner: Report won’t dispute Putin sought to help Trump

A yet-to-be released House Republican intelligence committee report does not dispute claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have tried to help President Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, Rep. Mike Turner said Wednesday.

In a strongly worded letter to the Republican chairman of the intelligence committee, Turner, R-Dayton, wrote, “There is no dispute that Putin intended to harm our democracy and hurt Clinton’s campaign and expected presidency through an active measures’ campaign that included the hacking and dumping of e-mails along with the dissemination of propaganda via Russian state-run media and social media.”

Turner, a member of the intelligence committee, was reacting to claims made earlier this month by GOP committee members that the report did not accuse Putin of trying to help Trump win the election. In addition, the same Republicans said they found no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials linked to Putin.

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The committee will vote Thursday on whether both Democrats and Republicans on the panel agree with its findings. The 150-page report has not yet been released, but Democrats strongly objected to the GOP claims that Putin was not trying to help Trump.

Turner indicated that he agrees with the findings of the intelligence committee but disputes claims some lawmakers made last week that the report did not find Putin tried to help Trump.

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Representative K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who headed up the probe, said last week “the Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future.” But Conaway said GOP members “disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”

In his letter, Turner said the committee report did not find any evidence of collusion between Putin and Trump campaign aides. But he also wrote the intelligence committee’s report “should not be interpreted as ending or contradicting the work of” Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

With rumors swirling that Trump may try to fire Mueller, Republicans have begun to criticize the moment. On Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said firing Mueller would be a big mistake.

Mueller is investigating whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and whether Trump aides colluded with Russian officials.

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