Senate Intel panel to probe Trump team's ties to Russia

Senate Intel panel to probe Trump team's ties to Russia
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The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday that it will be launching a bipartisan inquiry into Russian intelligence activities, including looking into whether President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKushner says meeting with Russian lawyer a 'waste of our time' Dems to unveil ‘better deal’ messaging campaign Monday This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate MORE's allies were in contact with the Kremlin. 

The scope of the probe will include “Counterintelligence concerns related to Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, including any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns," according to a statement. 

Committee chair Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrDems slam Trump for 'stonewalling' oversight efforts Burr: Nunes 'created' unmasking allegations against Rice Susan Rice met with Senate Intelligence Committee as part of Russia probe MORE (R-N.C.) said just one day before that no such topic would be included in his committee's investigation.

"As part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s oversight responsibilities we believe that it is critical to have a full understanding of the scope of Russian intelligence activities impacting the United States," Burr said in a joint statement with ranking member Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerDems to unveil ‘better deal’ messaging campaign Monday Talk of Trump pardons reverberates on Sunday shows Trump: Everyone agrees the president has 'complete power to pardon' MORE (D-Va.)  

Burr said that both the October statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which said the agencies believed Russians were behind the hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the more recent full declassified report from the Intelligence Community (IC) on Russian interference in the election "raise profound concerns." 

Burr said the committee will “conduct a bipartisan inquiry of the intelligence reporting."

The committee plans to hold hearings, interview officials from the Obama and Trump administrations, "including the issuance of subpoenas if necessary to compel testimony," but said most of the investigation will be done behind closed doors.

The IC report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a hacking and influence campaign intended to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

It was later reported that in the classified version of the report, the IC also included as an addendum a synopsis of an unverified outside dossier, which began as opposition research and was compiled by a former British intel operative. The dossier claimed that the Kremlin has compromising personal and professional information on Trump and that his campaign aides and Russian intermediaries have been in contact throughout the campaign. 

The news of the dossier, and word that Trump and President Obama were briefed on it, exploded this week, leading some to call for further investigation into its claims.

Trump has cast doubt on the intelligence agencies' findings, and slammed the dossier as "fake news." 

“The Committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads. We will conduct this inquiry expeditiously, and we will get it right," the statement read.  

Kremlin has consistently denied all U.S. allegations, calling them false and unsubstantiated.