A new report finds that the FBI and the Justice Department failed to conduct a thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to documents obtained by The Hill.
“The Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision to not conduct a full and impartial investigation into Russian interference was, and remains, shameful,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“The failure of the Justice Dept. to fully investigate the extent and scope of the Russian campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 elections is unacceptable.
I am confident that the Committee will fully investigate this matter and provide the American people with a full accounting of the FBI’s failures to investigate this egregious interference.”
The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.
The new report by the Congressional Research Service on the 2016 FBI report, entitled “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Influence,” found that there was “little to no evidence that Russia sought to influence any of the presidential election outcomes” and that there were “no clear indications” that Russia had any “direct or indirect involvement in the activities of WikiLeaks, CrowdStrike, Fusion GPS, or any other entities alleged to have been involved in the Russian hacking activities.”
But, the report said, there is “sufficient evidence to suggest that the Russian government sought to undermine confidence in the US democratic process.”
The report said that the report does not include a timeline for when the investigation would conclude, or the exact steps the FBI would take in an investigation.
The committee also released a summary of the report that the House and Senate intelligence committees are expected to release this week.
The report found that the intelligence community was “overwhelmed” by the complexity of the investigation, and that the findings of the probe were “often unclear and difficult to interpret.”
The investigation also found that “many key facts and conclusions” had been “overlooked or mischaracterized,” according to the report.
For example, there were no “specific or credible indicators that Russian actors attempted to manipulate the 2016 US election or otherwise interfere in the outcome” of the election, and “many details that would be of interest to the intelligence communities analysis of Russian election interference are either not known to the public or are withheld from Congress,” according the report.
“Despite this, the committee found that, in some cases, the FBI did not adequately inform Congress about the nature of the intelligence it gathered, or failed to provide Congress with sufficient details about its findings.
The FBI did receive some congressional oversight during the election cycle.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report found “that the FBI was in the midst of a major reorganization” and had “a major gap in its ability to properly communicate with Congress about its investigations.”