Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence are not disputing Republican members’ findings of no direct collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign officials and Russia, according to a Tuesday report from NBC News.
The committee’s investigation, which included interviews with over 200 witnesses and reviews of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, has dragged on for more than two years.
But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) broke his customary silence on the findings during an extensive interview last week with CBS News.
“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” Burr said.
Although more information could arise to the contrary, Burr said, “We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to.”
“What I’m telling you is that I’m going to present, as best we can, the facts to you and to the American people,” Burr said. “And you’ll have to draw your own conclusion as to whether you think that, by whatever definition, that’s collusion.”
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has also been conducting its own investigation into collusion allegations and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But the Democrats on that committee vowed to continue their investigation even after the Republicans released a report last spring revealing they had found “no evidence” of collusion.
Now that Democrats have regained House control, and now that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has taken the reins from Rep. Devin Nunes (D-Calif.), they’ve pledged to expand the scope of their investigation beyond the 2016 presidential election.
They plan to look into Trump’s finances and his family business — and whether or not foreign governments are influencing the president’s actions.
But there appears to be no such partisan disagreement among the Senate Intelligence Committee investigators, according to NBC News.
Both Burr and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the committee’s ranking Democrat, have managed to carry out a far more bipartisan investigation than the House Intelligence Committee managed. Democratic Senate investigators, in fact, told the outlet they don’t dispute what Burr has said.
“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” an aide told NBC News.
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian reported, “The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.”
“But they also made clear they haven’t found proof of their worst fear: That the president formed a corrupt pact with Russia to offer sanctions relief or other favorable treatment in return for Russian help in the election,” Dilanian added.
Trump pointed to Burr’s comments in a tweet on Sunday, writing, “Sen. Richard Burr, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, just announced that after almost two years, more than 200 interviews, and thousands of documents, they have found NO COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMP AND RUSSIA! Is anybody really surprised by this?”
Senator Richard Burr, The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, just announced that after almost two years, more than two hundred interviews, and thousands of documents, they have found NO COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMP AND RUSSIA! Is anybody really surprised by this?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2019
The president also mentioned Burr’s remarks during his campaign-style rally on Monday night in El Paso, Texas.
“They have been investigating the Russia hoax for two years. Think of it. They have interviewed over 200 people. They have studied hundreds of thousands of documents and pages. And Richard just announced that they found no collusion between Donald Trump and Russia,” Trump said.
“The fact is that the real collusion was between Hillary and the Democrats and the other side with Russia. That’s where the collusion is,” Trump added, as the crowd on Monday night cheered.
“But that is where the collusion is. With the Democrats and with Russia and with others. By the way, there is also collusion between the Democrats and the fake news right here.”
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