‘We have turned over every stone we could find, and we’ve found much more that will keep us busy that’s unrelated to a campaign in the 2016 election…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that he hopes his committee’s investigation will help the recently submitted Mueller Report to conclusively resolve any lingering questions of Russian collusion with the Donald Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, he hinted that the investigation might raise even more new questions about Russian meddling.
“We have turned over every stone we could find, and we’ve found much more that will keep us busy that’s unrelated to a campaign in the 2016 election,” Burr said in a speech at Duke University, reported WRAL.
The Senate Intelligence probe is expected to conclude in August. Burr said it had already interviewed more than 200 people on three continents, producing 30,000 pages of notes, and had reviewed more than 400,000 documents.
“We’re not going to allow anything in our report that doesn’t have facts to back it up,” he said.
Burr said that a comparison between the two separate reports should help ensure there isn’t “any room for anybody to make these wild accusations about collusion.”
The comments come shortly after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, pledged last week to dig deeper into the “other side” of the story: whether the FBI and other Obama-era intelligence agencies may have colluded with the campaign of Hillary Clinton to absolve her of a criminal investigation while helping to spread false innuendo about Trump and Russia.
Meanwhile, Burr’s and Graham’s House counterparts—Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, have continued to cling to the Trump collusion myth despite indications that the Mueller Report said otherwise.
After Attorney General William Barr rejected a Tuesday deadline for providing them with a full, unredacted copy of the report, they hinted that they might issue subpoenas to get it. Barr has offered to release the full report—after legally mandated redactions are made—later this month and to discuss it before Congress in early May.
On both sides of the political schism, one thing is undisputed: Russians did indeed attempt to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, whether to back a particular candidate or simply to sow discord and division.
Burr said the Senate Intelligence investigation was focused on ensuring that “Russia doesn’t have its hooks in anybody.”
As the social-media juggernauts have ratcheted up their censorship efforts, citing the need to safeguard the public against fake news and “hate speech,” they often have been criticized for their political bias and targeting of legitimate conservative opinions or organizations.
But Burr suggested that Vladimir Putin’s government may have weaponized our constitutionally protected cornerstone of democracy against us in order to undermine the electoral process.
“What Russia proved to us is that the First Amendment is a valuable tool to have,” he said, “and that it’s very dangerous if, in fact, people don’t police it and understand fact from fiction.”