GOP senator hits back at criticism of Russia probe

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) is defending the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the White House race amid allegations of dysfunction among the panel.  

"Reports about #Russia probe are wrong. Don’t confuse silence for lack of progress. Intel Cmte must conduct classified investigations quietly," Lankford, who is a member of the committee, said on Twitter Monday.
The Intelligence Committee's investigation, which also includes possible contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow, is coming under fire amid reports that the probe is moving slowly and understaffed.
Sources told Yahoo News that the investigation is being undercut by "partisan divisions," and Democrats on the committee — including Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Intelligence report warns of climate threats in all countries The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan Democrats feel high anxiety in Biden spending conflict MORE (D-Va.), the ranking member — are increasingly frustrated with the pace of the committee's work. 
Separately, the Daily Beast reported on Monday that there are no full-time staffers assigned to the investigation, which involves sorting through thousands of pages of documents. 
Two sources added that the committee has not yet interviewed former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Roger Stone and Carter Page, two advisers during President Trump's campaign; former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; or White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law.
The reports of simmering tensions within the committee come as Warner and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDemocratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (R-N.C.) strive to publicly show a united front. 
They held a joint press conference earlier this year stressing the bipartisan nature of the Senate probe amid a string of partisan controversies surrounding the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe.

"Mark and I may look at politics differently, we don't look at the responsibilities we have on the committee differently," Burr told reporters at the time.

Burr noted during the press conference that the committee had made requests to interview 20 individuals and five of those interviews had already been scheduled. 
Lankford also defended the investigation on Sunday, telling Fox News that "we are moving closer [to answers] but we're doing it the right way, and we're going to go where the facts go."