WASHINGTON -House Republicans declared Monday there is no evidence of collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign, but Florida Rep. Tom Rooney did not exactly follow the party line, saying there did appear to be evidence of attempts to help Trump.
"Certainly he was helped by the Russian propaganda but I think Russia was just generally trying to hurt everybody," Rooney, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said on CNN.
Host Erin Burnett countered that was true until Russia developed a clear preference for Trump, as the intelligence community has concluded.
Earlier Monday, Rep. Michael Conaway, the Republican overseeing the probe, declared: "We found no evidence of collusion. We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meeting. … The bottom line: the Russians did commit active measures against our election in '16, and we think they will do that in the future."
But, he said, "We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump."
Rooney, who is retiring from office, criticized how political the investigation has become.
"From what I said last week is we have gone off the rails and now we're a political forum for people to leak information to drive the day's news. We have lost all credibility and we're going to issue probably two different reports."
Rooney's office issued this statement:
"After exhaustive document review and interviews with witnesses and government officials, the House Intelligence Committee's investigation has found no evidence of collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. At the same time, there is no dispute that Russian intention to infiltrate our democratic processes cannot be ignored. States must begin to prepare themselves now to protect the integrity of our elections for 2018 and beyond," Rooney said.
"When we began our investigation into what occurred leading up to the 2016 elections, our ultimate goal was to make timely recommendations for Congress, the executive branch and for states to improve election security in advance of the 2018 election. The clock is ticking. We're now nine months out, and the threat of Russian interference has not diminished. Make no mistake: this is a close to just one chapter in the threat posed by Moscow – which began well before the investigation – but our work does not stop here, and this Committee's oversight over Russian threats to the U.S. will continue."
Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is not a member of the Intel committee, applauded the news, calling the probe a"goose chase." DeSantis has the backing of Trump in his bid for governor.