Senate Intelligence Committee 'has not exonerated Trump' with 'no collusion' findings: NBC's Ken Dilanian
Trump's relationship with Moscow has stalked the first year of his presidency, with key former aides under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin. (SPUTNIK/AFP / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV)

Democrats have admitted that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia — but according to the reporter who broke the story, the committee is not saying the president is innocent, either.

NBC News' Ken Dilanian reported Tuesday that Democratic aides agreed on background with Republican Intel Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), who last week announced that the committee did not have evidence to prove Trump-Russia collusion.

"We were never going find a contract signed in blood saying, 'Hey Vlad, we're going to collude,'" one Democratic aide told NBC.

But as Dilanian tweeted after the story went live Tuesday morning, that admission doesn't necessarily clear the president.

"To be clear," the reporter posted, "the Senate intelligence committee has not found evidence exonerating Trump, either."

The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand noted that the same aide who spoke to Dilanian expounded on the admission in an interview with her.

"Right now there is 'a common set of facts' that the panel is working with, 'and a disagreement about what those facts mean,'" the aide told Bertrand. The staffer added: "We are closer to the end than the beginning, but we're not wrapping up."

The aide went on to pan NBC's headline, "Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia."

"The word 'direct' is doing a lot of work here," the aide told Bertrand.