Senate Intelligence chairman avoiding White House during Russia investigation

Senate Intelligence chairman avoiding White House during Russia investigation
© Keren Carrion

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said that he would be limiting his trips to the White House while the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is ongoing.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas Graham: Mueller is going to be allowed to finish investigation MORE (R-N.C.) is presiding over the Senate floor while his Republican colleagues go to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to talk about healthcare. He was spotted with his lunch in hand and preparing to take the elevator while his colleagues gathered in front of the Capitol. 

Pressed on whether he was making a policy of staying away during the panel's politically sensitive probe, he indicated that he was.

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

A clandestine trip to the White House ultimately sunk the leadership of his counterpart in the House, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Nunes's panel is also investigating Russian interference, but the chairman was forced to step aside from that probe amid accusations that he had attempted to share intelligence with the White House.

Burr in the past has faced criticism for being too chummy with a White House that has been swept up in the scope of the investigation. In February, he reportedly spoke with journalists to counter Russia-related reports at the request of the White House.

But he has since kept careful distance, and the investigation has received praise for its professional, bipartisan approach to the issue of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as alleged collusion by President Trump's campaign