Politics

Senate Intel Won’t Have Russia Report By Midterms, Top Democrat Says

Committee still wants to speak with Cohen, Papadopoulos

Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., have managed to keep Senate Intelligence working on a bipartisan basis as they probe Russia 2016 election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Intelligence Committee is unlikely to release its final report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election until after the midterms this November, Vice Chairman Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the committee, said.

Warner and his colleagues are still wending their way down a list of people they’d like to interview, he said, including Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who was sentenced to 14 days in prison last week for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians while he was working on the campaign.

The committee also wants to circle back with the President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last month to multiple campaign finance and tax fraud charges.

“We have interviewed over a hundred folks,” Warner said. “We’ve still got folks like Mr. Papadopoulos — and we’d love to get back with Mr. Cohen — that we want to pursue.”

All that means the committee will be “hard pressed” to produce its findings before the midterm elections, Warner said.

He indicated the committee has investigatory limitations that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his Justice Department investigation do not.

“Clearly, Mr. Mueller has a lot more tools in his tool chest than we have in this Intelligence Committee,” Warner said.

Cohen has “indicated that he would come back without any immunity and testify before our committee,” Warner said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard M. Burr, has moved methodically through its investigation and gone to great lengths to ensure it does not descend into partisan chaos.

The committee broke up its investigation into five parts: confirming the intelligence community’s assessment that Russians intervened to tilt the election to Trump; examining the holes in election security and evaluating how they can be plugged; probing what the Obama administration knew about Russian interference and how it responded; addressing Russia’s efforts to influence Western elections on social media; and investigating allegations of collusion between officials in Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

“Our committee is the last bipartisan effort that’s trying to pursue these facts,” Warner said Sunday, referring to other congressional investigations.

On the House side, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence degenerated into fierce partisanship after GOP Chairman Devin Nunes released a memo claiming the FBI may have used politically motivated informants and information to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to monitor the foreign contacts of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Page was not working for the campaign by the time the FBI applied for the first of four warrants.

Ranking member Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, released a report trying to refute Nunes’ memo.

Conservative Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have taken up Nunes’ mantle trying to discredit the FBI and DOJ’s investigations into the 2016 Trump campaign.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina introduced and 10 others have signed a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for what they believe is a failure by the DOJ to turn over documents related to the FISA warrants.

Meadows tabled the resolution in July after striking an agreement with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

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