WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee isssued a final, redacted report Friday that found no evidence during a monthslong investigation that the Trump campaign aided Russia’s election meddling.
In the 250-page report, the lawmakers assailed President Trump’s political rivals and criticized the FBI and intelligence agencies for their responses to Moscow’s interference.
In dissenting views, Democrats on the committee accused the Republicans of prematurely closing the investigation out of a desire to protect Trump and asserted that eagerness by Trump campaign associates to accept offers of Russian assistance suggest “a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality.”
The strikingly divergent conclusions closed a chapter for a congressional committee that, while charged with oversight of US spy agencies, has fractured into warring factions that often seemed to see the advancement of political agendas as their primary mission.
In the charged political climate that has engulfed Washington, the report — the first out of several government investigations into Russia’s interference — is certain to serve as a useful political tool for Trump and his allies.
The president quickly seized on the Republicans’ findings, touting the conclusions on Twitter and calling the inquiries “A total witch hunt! Must end now!”
Republicans did not entirely spare Trump’s campaign in their report, but their criticisms were in most cases limited to bad judgment.
“While the committee found that several of the contacts between Trump associates and Russians — or their proxies, including WikiLeaks — were ill-advised, the committee did not determine that Trump or anyone associated with him assisted Russia’s active measures campaign,” the Republicans wrote.
Republicans criticized the Obama administration for a “slow and inconsistent” response to Russia’s active measures. And they admonished the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee for hiring Fusion GPS, a research firm, to investigate ties between Trump associates and Russia.
The firm in turn hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, who produced a salacious dossier outlining a conspiracy between the campaign and the Russians.
The full House report, heavily blacked out in parts by US intelligence agencies, includes recommendations on issues as diverse as cyber and election security, as well as a call for the executive branch to consider administering mandatory polygraph tests to political appointees with top-secret security clearances who are not confirmed by the Senate.
Although they absolved the Trump campaign, the Republicans warned that the government of President Vladimir Putin of Russia would be back without significant deterrence efforts.
The investigation was one of several by the government into Russian election interference and possible ties to the Trump campaign. The Justice Department’s special counsel investigation is continuing, and the Senate Intelligence Committee is moving forward in its own.
Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican who leads the committee, became a reliable ally for Trump who engaged in attempts to pin blame on Obama administration officials and so-called deep state bureaucrats to undermine Trump.
In a separate development Friday, a federal judge in Washington threw out a civil lawsuit brought by Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, that sought to challenge the authority of the special counsel in the inquiry.
The decision was a blow to Manafort’s defense against charges by special counsel Robert Mueller and a rejection of his use of a civil case to halt a criminal prosecution.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who also presides in one of Manafort’s criminal cases, rejected his request for an order protecting him from future prosecutions by Mueller’s team. ‘‘A civil case is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future,’’ Jackson wrote.
In another development, newly released e-mails showed that in at least one instance Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in 2016, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm.
Veselnitskaya, who sought the meeting at Trump Tower on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, had long insisted that she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative.
In an interview broadcast Friday by NBC News, she acknowledged that she was not merely a private lawyer but a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.