Report: Senate's Russia probe understaffed

Report: Senate's Russia probe understaffed
© Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian election interference has no full-time dedicated staff members, a Daily Beast report revealed Sunday.

Three months into the committee’s investigation, there are no staff members dedicated to it full-time, those working on it do not have backgrounds in investigative experience and no interviews have been conducted with key players, The Daily Beast added.

It appears to be progressing at a slower pace than other committee investigations, it added.

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Two sources familiar with the matter told the site that the committee has not interviewed former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Roger Stone and Carter Page, two advisers during Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE's presidential campaign; former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; and White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law.

“It’s either a real investigation or not,” an individual with knowledge of the committee’s activities said. “You have to have an approved investigative guide. You have to make it formal.

"Can you have a credible investigation with only seven part-time staffers, doing everything in secret?”

So far, the committee has been focused on reviewing an intelligence community assessment that concluded that Russia, with a preference for Trump, took steps to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The public version of that assessment did not draw conclusions about ties between Russia and the Trump team.

The committee announced earlier that seven staff members had been assigned to review documents relating to the investigation. But the Daily Beast reports that of none the seven have investigative experience or is a lawyer.

And most also lack a background in Russian affairs.

But two new staffers will be added soon, the Daily Beast added, one with extensive legal skills.  

A spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrMcConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Bipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-N.C.) declined to comment to the site on Sunday evening.