The ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence told Breitbart News the White House is not helping its cause as they continue to comment on the congressional investigations into links between Russian interests and President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I don’t think it does them any good,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), minutes after holding a joint press conference with the committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
Warner told Breitbart News that he is impatient personally for a report, but he is going to wait for the committee to complete its investigation in the the matter.
The committee knows what the Russians did and how they did it, but it does not know how or weather they interacted with either the Trump campaign or the campaign of his Democratic rival, former first lady Hillary R. Clinton, he said.
“There are a lot of stories,” Warner said. “But, we’ve got to get this right.”
At the press conference, Burr made it clear that his committee would keep clear of the investigation conducted by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and he refused to answer questions related to it.
“We are not asking the House to play any role in our investigation,” the chairman said. “We don’t plan to play any role in their investigation.”
The Senate committee’s investigation is part of its routine oversight function, just on a bigger scale, he said.
Part of that routine oversight is to investigate leaks of classified information, which will also be a part of the committee’s investigation, he said.
Burr said the last major investigation by the committee was its look into the attacks on American personnel and facilities at Benghazi, Libya. That investigation took three full-time committee investigators one year to complete their report.
To investigate Russian participation in the 2016 presidential election and its possible contacts with either campaign, Burr said he assigned seven full-time committee investigators. “These are staffers, who already had the clearance and already had the knowledge of the materials they were going to look at,” he added.
Although, the committee has a list of names that they want to talk to, the only person formally set for an interview is senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, Burr said.
Kushner volunteered to speak to the committee, and when the committee senators and staff have prepared to speak to Kushner, he will be scheduled, he said.
There are a number of individuals who have had incidental contact with Russians or other targets of the investigation, he said. Those people will be given the opportunity to speak with the committee informally without legal jeopardy, so that the investigation moves along without disrupting the lives of those individuals.
Burr said committee senators and investigators have been working on their investigation since President Barack Obama presented his Jan. 6 report on Russian political activities in the United States.
The North Carolina senator said the committee was also mindful that the Russians are interfering in the ongoing French presidential election, as well as others.
Both Burr and Warner went out of their way to stress the bipartisan nature of the investigation, with Warner saying that it is his intention to have the committee issue a single report approved by both sides of the aisle.