When is it OK to talk about the US election?
In the wake of revelations of the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Russian government, the Trump administration is facing pressure from lawmakers and journalists to explain what, if anything, it knew about the campaign.
The White House is seeking to answer questions from lawmakers by releasing a report on the 2016 election by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The White Houses own internal report on Russia’s meddling, which is expected to be released on Tuesday, will be critical to understanding how and why Trump lost.
Aides are reportedly working on a separate report that is expected later this year.
But the GAO report will be seen by the public and Congress as yet another piece of evidence of the Russian campaign to influence the election.
“This is a big deal,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.
Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has been leading efforts to release the report.
“It is the largest public disclosure of any intelligence committee ever made.”
The GAO has been studying Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election for several years, and its investigation has uncovered evidence of how Russia used a wide array of sophisticated cyber tools to target Democratic organizations and candidates.
In the interim, the White House has released the internal report, which does not detail how the campaign knew of the hacks or whether any other intelligence agencies were aware of them.
“We are in the process of releasing this report to the public,” a White House spokesperson said.
The GAI is expected in the coming weeks to release a draft of its report, along with a draft version of the report and other documents that outline the findings.
The Senate intelligence committee is expected by the end of the week to release its report.
In a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday afternoon, GAO director Katherine Archuleta said the agency’s investigation into Russian meddling was a “critical component” to the committee’s investigation.
“The GAO is committed to conducting this comprehensive and timely investigation into the 2016 Russian election interference, which was not limited to any single foreign intelligence service or government,” Archuletas said.
“In addition, the GAI has developed a broad range of research that is relevant to the investigation, including documents, emails, and computer code.”
Archuletz said she has been in contact with lawmakers and staff members about the report, and she expects to meet with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., in the near future.
“I’m very confident that we will get to the bottom of what we can learn about the Russian interference,” Archulez said.
Nunes told reporters on Tuesday he would not comment on the report until the committee releases its report in the next several weeks.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Nunes said he would be releasing the report “very shortly” after it was released.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there, and the Russians are going to want to know,” Nunes said.
He added that he is looking forward to the GAIS report.
The release of the GAUS report could help lawmakers assess whether the Trump White House knew about Russia’s actions in the months leading up to the election and whether any efforts to influence public opinion were coordinated with other intelligence officials.
In addition to the report by the GAU, there is another intelligence report the Senate has scheduled to release later this month that includes evidence of a broader cyber campaign.
That report is also expected to detail the scope of the Kremlin’s efforts to sway the election, as well as the extent to which Trump campaign officials were involved.
“As I’ve said before, we are not going to get to that level of certainty until we get the full report,” Nunes told The Associated Post on Tuesday.
“But I think there is a good chance we will.”
The White house is seeking a $20 billion penalty from Russia for meddling in the election last year.
While it’s not clear what evidence the president or anyone in the Trump team may have provided to the White Houses GAO investigation, some experts say it’s possible that Trump’s campaign staff, which the GA report describes as “deeply involved” in the campaign, was also involved in the effort.
“You can imagine how the president’s team would be, right, if they were involved in that effort,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president.
“So there are a lot more questions to answer.”
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has dismissed any suggestions that it colluded with the Russians.
“Trump is the most transparent person in the world, and we have a tremendous track record of transparentness and honesty,” campaign spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
“That is what he campaigned on, and it is what we continue to stand for.”
A White House official said on Tuesday that Trump will not discuss any Russian involvement during his trip to Asia.
“President Trump will discuss how to move forward with the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in our elections and our democracy in the Asia-Pacific