Warner, Burr split on committee findings on collusion

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of 'new era' in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, broke on Tuesday with committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP senator: 'No problem' with Mueller testifying Collins backs having Mueller testify Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying MORE's (R-N.C.) assessment that the panel had not found evidence of collusion based on its findings thus far.

"Respectfully, I disagree," Warner said, according to CNN. "I'm not going to get into any conclusions I've reached because my basis of this has been that I'm not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back."

ADVERTISEMENT

Burr told CBS News last week that "based on the evidence" the committee has seen so far, there is nothing to suggest that members of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE's campaign and the Russian government colluded during the 2016 election.

The split in public comments between Burr and Warner marked a rare instance of a partisan divide between the two committee leaders, who have been conducting a bipartisan investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

NBC News reported Tuesday that the committee is nearing the end of its investigation having uncovered no direct evidence of collusion, but some senators on the panel were less committal.

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Energy: Trump moves to crack down on Iranian oil exports | Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast | Bloomberg donates .5M to Paris deal Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast Angus King: 'Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass' MORE (I-Maine), a member of the Intelligence Committee, told The Hill when asked about the NBC report that the panel "has not concluded anything."

"Several of the individual members have made statements, but I certainly am not prepared to make a statement as to what was found or not found," he said.

Warner told CNN that lawmakers are still hoping to speak with a few witnesses, including Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The longtime Trump associate was scheduled to testify Tuesday, but postponed his appearance, citing medical reasons after a recent shoulder surgery.

"What we do know, and it's part of the public record, there's never been a campaign in American history that during the campaign and its aftermath that the campaign folks affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did," Warner said.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that his campaign did not collude with Russia, and he has decried the federal investigation into the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, calling it a "witch hunt." That probe has thus far implicated six former Trump associates and dozens of Russians.

Trump last week seized on Burr's remarks about the committee's findings. The president highlighted the senator's comments as proof that his campaign did not collude, but did not mention that Burr was referring to evidence the committee has reviewed to date.

Burr has periodically said he has seen no evidence of collusion between the campaign and the Russian government, however he has noted he will wait to make a final judgment until the investigation is fully completed.