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MSNBC Stunned by Intel Committee News: ‘Trump Will Claim Vindication…And He’ll be Partially Right’

On Tuesday, Intelligence and national security correspondent for NBC News Ken Dilanian reported the somewhat breaking news to MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson that the Senate Intelligence Committee admits it has found, after two years, “no direct evidence” of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The report met surprise first, then skepticism, with Jackson and her guests.

“After two years and interviewing more than 200 witnesses, the Senate intelligence Committee has not uncovered any direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Dilanian. “That’s according to sources on both the Republican and the Democratic side of the aisle.”

Dilanian noted that the Republican chair of the committee made remarks to that effect last week, but that the network continued to dig since that was a “partisan” comment. “What I found,” he said,” is that Democrats don’t dispute that characterization.”

The report hinges on “direct” evidence, a fine distinction as Dilanian noted in the segment. After more discussion about the details, and about the length of time before the final report comes out, Jackson sought a succinct summary.

The eventual report will question the campaign’s judgment, Dilanian said as he wrapped up. “But, again, no direct proof of a conspiracy. As one democratic aide said to me, ‘we never thought we were going to find a contract between Trump and Vladimir Putin saying let’s collude, but the question is how do we interpret all these various contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.'”

“Not to put too fine a point on it, but I want to make sure I’m understanding this,” said Hallie Jackson leading into her summary question.

“If and when the president, as he may inevitably do, point to this reporting point to these conclusions and says look, the Senate intelligence committee found I’m not guilty of conspiracy,” she asked rather incredulously, “he would be correct in saying that??”

Dilanian clarified that “not guilty” wouldn’t apply because it is not a court of law. He added the caveat that Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation is not complete and may have access to things that the intelligence committee does not have access to. But he answered in the sort of affirmative.

“That said, Trump will claim vindication through this, and he’ll be partially right,” he said.

He pointed out that the Senate investigators have access to highly classified information, and that “ff there was an intercept between officers suggesting they were conspiring with the Trump campaign, [the committee] would see that. And that has not emerged.”

“So that evidence does not exist, and Trump will claim vindication,” he said.

Guest Shawna Thomas of Vice News weighed in as Jackson move to a panel discussion, and questioned whether this report matters. “There’s two things I question about [the report],” she said.

“Number one, if and when the report finally comes out from the Senate intelligence committee, is there anything in there that will cause, especially some of these new House Dems, to start to clamor, even if there isn’t ‘conspiracy’ or ‘collusion’, for impeachment?” said Thomas with plenty of air quotes.

“The other thing is, based on what Ken is saying, it’s all stuff we knew already,” said Thomas, stomping on the significance MSNBC’s own exclusive, breaking news.

The segment ended there. Watch the clip above, courtesy of MSNBC.

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