Se­nate lead­ers pledge Rus­sia probe co­op­er­a­tion

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By Deb Riech­mann

wash­ing­ton » Pledg­ing co­op­er­a­tion, the top Repub­li­can and Demo­crat on the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee said Wed­nes­day they would steer clear of pol­i­tics in their panel’s probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s elec­tion. They made a point of putting them­selves at arm’s length from the House in­ves­ti­ga­tion marked by par­ti­san­ship and dis­putes.

Richard Burr of North Carolina, the GOP chair­man of the Se­nate com­mit­tee, told re­porters on Capi­tol Hill he would not even an­swer ques­tions about the House probe. “We’re not ask­ing the House to play any role in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We don’t plan to play any role in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Burr said ahead of his panel’s open hear­ing Thurs­day.

Stand­ing along­side his com­mit­tee’s rank­ing Demo­crat, Sen. Mark Warner of Vir­ginia, Burr said: “Mark and I work hand in hand on this. ... We’re part­ners to see that this is com­pleted and thatwe have a prod­uct at the end of the day thatwe can, in bi­par­ti­san­ship, sup­port.”

The se­na­tors’ com­ments came the same day an at­tor­ney for for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn said the re­tired U. S. Army lieu­tenant gen­eral has not been in­ter­viewed by the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee. One of Flynn’s lawyers, Robert K. Kel­ner, said they have had dis­cus­sions with com­mit­tee staff mem­bers, but Flynn has not been con­tacted di­rectly.

So far, the com­mit­tee has re­quested 20 in­di­vid­u­als to be in­ter­viewed. Five have been sched­uled, and the re­main­ing 15 are likely to be sched­uled within the next 10 days.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence, Burr iden­ti­fied just one of the wit­nesses: President Don­ald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner. The White House has said Kush­ner, a se­nior ad­viser to Trump, has vol­un­teered to an­swer ques­tions about ar­rang­ing meet­ings with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador and other of­fi­cials.

On the House side, Democrats have called for in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee Chair­man Devin Nunes to re­cuse him­self be­cause of his pre­vi­ous ties with Don­ald Trump’s team be­fore Trump took of­fice.

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