As Burr Demurs Investigating Intelligence Community Issues Surrounding ‘Whistleblower’ Complaint, All Eyes on Graham for Next Steps

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, (R-SC)., speaks at a news conference proposing legislation to address the crisis at the southern border at the U.S. Capitol on May 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans met with Vice President Mike Pence and White House Advisor Jared Kushner yesterday to discuss President …
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U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is facing increasing pressure from his colleagues and from outside the U.S. Senate to do more than he has done so far in investigating the intelligence community “whistleblower” complaint against President Donald Trump. If Burr does not step up to the task, many are looking elsewhere—specifically to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—for leadership on the investigation.

As Democrats control the House, Republicans in the Senate are the only avenue in which the GOP can use congressional committees to dig into this matter. How exactly that comes to fruition, though, remains to be seen.

“I think what the system needs to do is look at the other side like Mueller looked at Trump,” Graham said in a Breitbart News interview on Monday evening. “We had Mueller do a two-year probe of the Trump campaign and how it operated. Now it’s time to figure out how the system got so far off the rails.”

There have also been some actions from other Senate Committee chairs, including Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who have written letters asking questions about changes to whistleblower complaint rules in the intelligence community. Burr, meanwhile, has held a closed-door hearing with the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, which happened last week after Maguire’s public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

But many are clamoring for much more out of Senate Republicans, and much faster.

“Instead of giving Democrats cover like he did on the failed Russia witch hunt, Senator Burr should start doing his job and investigate the litany of inaccuracies within the whistleblower report,” a former adviser to the late former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told Breitbart News. “If he’s not up to the job, it’s time for Senator Graham to uncover the truth and get to the bottom of the whistleblower’s conflicting stories.”

“It’s an unwritten rule in the IC that we don’t believe in coincidences,” a former senior White House official whose portfolio included national security issues told Breitbart News. “The timing of the rule change that made it possible for hearsay to make it into ‘whistleblower’ reports is obviously linked to this latest bogus complaint. At this point Senator Burr only has two options: Launch a serious investigation, or get out of the way and let Senator Graham do the job himself.”

Burr’s office has not replied to an interview request or a series of questions from Breitbart News about specifically what he intends to do with regard to investigating the whistleblower complaint. Questions that Breitbart News asked Burr’s office that the senator and his team have yet to answer include:

1.) Does Sen. Burr intend to investigate the handling/mishandling of classified information in the whistleblower complaint?

2.) Does Sen. Burr intend to investigate changes to the whistleblower requirements and statutes made after the Obama administration, including whether firsthand knowledge of something is required to be a “whistleblower”?

3.) Does Sen. Burr intend to issue subpoenas and/or hold hearings to get testimony from throughout the intelligence community on these matters?

4.) What else does Sen. Burr intend to do on this matter?

5.) If Sen. Burr does not intend to do anything on these fronts, does he support other committees stepping in and doing the investigative work that needs to be done here?

6.) Does Sen. Burr intend to investigate any apparent coordination between House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff and other Democrats with the “whistleblower” in the lead-up to all of this?

Graham, the Judiciary Committee chairman, confirmed to Breitbart News on Monday evening that he has hearings planned with regard to the forthcoming Inspector General report on the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that found no collusion between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russians—and no obstruction by Trump.

Those hearings, which will feature Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz when his report comes out, are the beginning of a Senate GOP pushback against a broader effort by Democrats in the House to push for President Trump’s impeachment.

But with regard to specifically the whistleblower complaint, Graham said that it fell for now into the realm of the Intelligence Committee—but if the Intelligence Committee, under Burr, does not rise to the occasion then Graham suggested other committees may get involved.

“As for the whistleblower complaint, it’s been referred to the Intel Committee,” Graham said. “I will expect that they will look at the complaint. Whether or not other committees get involved, it’s too early to tell, because we’ve got to wait to see what Intel does.”


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