Senate chairman hopes to wrap up Russia investigation this year

Senate chairman hopes to wrap up Russia investigation this year
© Greg Nash

The top senator in charge of the Senate's Russia investigation said in an interview published Saturday that he hopes the probe will be able to wrap up by the end of the year.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTrump: Why isn't Senate looking into 'Fake News Networks'? Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Special counsel looking into dossier as part of Russia probe: report MORE (R-N.C.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post that while he hopes to present his findings by 2018, he won't take any action to end the investigation prematurely.

He's “hopeful that we can bring finality to this by the end of the year," noting that he doesn't expect additional surprises in the investigation.

"I also can’t anticipate anything new that might come up that we don’t know today that would extend it by a month or two months," Burr told the Post.

"So I am conscious of the fact that I need to do this expeditiously, but I need to do it thoroughly and I won’t do anything to cut it short," he continued.

Burr told the Post that he is now investigating individuals who weren't originally part of the probe examining possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He declined to name any members of the campaign or administration who may be involved in the probe.

”What continues this investigation are the names of individuals that we didn’t know at the time, the documents that we weren’t aware of, the communications, the cables, the emails, the phone logs of individuals that we wouldn’t have thought then that we needed to interview or to look at their records,” he said.

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He added that he wants to present his findings publicly, rather than Congress having a "kumbaya" moment behind closed doors.

“The conclusion of this investigation has to have a public disclosure for the American people to look at what we found and to make their own assessment, not necessarily for there to be groupthink within Congress and us to have a kumbaya moment,” Burr told the Post.

“It is to present the facts to the American people," he said.

Burr, a Republican, has faced criticism in the past for being too close to the White House while leading the investigation. He told reporters in July that he was making an effort to distance himself from the White House as the investigation progresses.

"I'll make it a habit while this investigation is going on that I don't go down [to the White House]," Burr said last month.