Courtesy of NBC News:
After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.
But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.
“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,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.
Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.
“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.
Democrats on the committee were less definitive:
Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.
“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”
Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.
“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.
It should be noted that one of the witnesses they have yet to question is Michael Cohen, who famously lied to Congress the last time he was questioned, but who now claims he is willing to spill his guts.
Courtesy of CNBC:
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, has postponed his planned appearance Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence because of “post-surgery medical needs,” Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said Monday.
Davis said the committee, which accepted Cohen’s request for a delay, will announce a “future date” for Cohen’s appearance. The Senate Intelligence panel had no comment on Davis’ statement.
Cohen, 52, recently had shoulder surgery.
It should be noted that while this story got a ton of attention yesterday that the Senate committee does not have access to the same information that Robert Mueller has access to, and that while clearly better than the congressional committee once headed by Devin Nunes, it is still being overseen by Republicans who have proven hesitant to find this president guilty of anything.
I also am suspicious as to why this information is coming out now when the committee has not yet finished its report and there are still witnesses to interview.