Senate leaders pledge Russia probe cooperation
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.