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Ryan: No evidence of Americans 'colluding' with Russia

Ryan: No evidence of Americans 'colluding' with Russia
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.) told NBC News that he has seen no evidence of Americans “colluding” with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, though he declined to comment on whether there's proof that President Trump's campaign aides communicated with Russia.

“No one has ever showed us any evidence that any collusion had occurred between an American involved with the political system and the Russians,” Ryan told NBC News on Tuesday.

But the Speaker did not rule out the possibility that he might have seen evidence of communication between Trump campaign officials and Russia. 

"I'm not going to get into those things," he told NBC News when asked if he was making a distinction between collusion and communications.

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Ryan made the comments at a breakfast event Tuesday with members of the media ahead of Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress that night. 

The House and Senate Intelligence committees have been investigating Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election that involved cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE campaign chairman John Podesta.

“[James] Clapper and [John] Brennan did a governmentwide investigation from November through December. They did a scrub of everything — presented it all to us,” Ryan said. “And that investigation told us what we already knew: The Russians were trying to meddle with our election. We all know that. There’s nothing new with that. 

"Do I think that it affected the outcome? Not in the least," he added.

Reports citing unnamed officials surfaced in February that Trump campaign associates had repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials ahead of the presidential election. 

Earlier this month, Michael Flynn was forced to resign as White House national security adviser after The Washington Post reported that he had discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, despite public denials by the Trump administration.

Trump has repeatedly taken aim at the intelligence community for “illegally” leaking information, focusing on attacking leakers rather than on the allegations of Russian interference in the election. 

Democrats have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russia. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has also argued that a special prosecutor would be appropriate in the event of an allegation of crime, muddying an earlier statement he made to HBO’s Bill Maher.