As it investigated alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, “the CIA just got it wrong,” Rep. Chris Stewart told CNN on Monday evening.
The House Intelligence Committee closed its investigation into the matter Monday, saying neither Trump nor his affiliates colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Stewart, a Republican and Utah’s only member of the House Intelligence Committee, toured the national media circuit Monday evening to talk about the panel’s findings, which clash with those of committee Democrats and of the intelligence community.
Stewart and other members of the House Intelligence Committee read raw intelligence the CIA had collected, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday evening.
The agency “misinterpreted some very key intelligence and drew the wrong conclusions,” he said.
Stewart, a retired Air Force pilot, also discussed the issue with Fox News on Monday.
“Does anyone in the world believe that if there was evidence of collusion, that it would not have been leaked, under the circumstances that we’ve seen?” he told host Sean Hannity. “Of course it would. You would already know about it.”
“We’ve been accusing people of conspiracy and treason, and at the end of the day, these people are innocent,” Stewart added.
“This investigation has got some very important points that we need to pursue,” he said, “and I think we owe that to the American people, to not just end here but in a practical way and in a nondramatic way and in a nonpartisan way, continue with these other lines of questioning, to tell them of that as well.”
“I agree that they were just trying to settle a score, break down the foundations of trust, no question about that,” Stewart said on CNN.
Stewart declined The Salt Lake Tribune’s request for comment Monday evening.
The CIA, NSA and FBI released a report in January 2017 that said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyberassault on the election and had a “clear preference” for Trump. One month earlier, Stewart dismissed such reports, calling Russian meddling “BS.”
Last month, The Tribune reported that Stewart suspected the possible politicization of the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA.
Stewart is running for re-election in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District.