Senate Intelligence Committee vows thorough review of Russian meddling

Senate Intelligence Committee vows thorough review of Russian meddling

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes Trump to hold campaign rally in North Carolina day before special House election Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post MORE (R-N.C.) announced plans Friday for his committee to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 

“The Committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads,” he wrote in a statement. “We will conduct this review expeditiously, but we will take the time to get it right and will not be influenced by uninformed discourse.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Overnight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts MORE (R-Ky.) tasked the Intelligence Committee with investigations into reports that Russian officials, with the consent of Vladimir Putin, hacked Democratic groups to sway the election. Many had suggested McConnell assign a special investigatory committee for that purpose.  

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In a bullet-pointed plan of action, Burr said the committee would “[r]eview the all-source intelligence that informed its assessments, including but not limited to the October 7 statement,” “[r]eview the cyber activity directed against our nation by the Russian Government, both as it regards the 2016 Election and more broadly,” “[h]old hearings examining other specific aspects of Russian behavior” and “[i]nterview senior officials of both the outgoing and incoming administrations including the issuance of subpoenas if necessary to compel testimony.”

Burr emphasized his plan for an even-handed investigation. 

“Majority Leader McConnell and incoming Minority Leader Schumer have made it clear they expect any review of Russia’s involvement in our nation’s elections to be conducted in a bipartisan manner,” he said, referring to Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.).

In the same statement, Burr defended the intelligence community against a growing chorus of Trump supporters accusing them of politicizing a narrative of Moscow’s intervention in the presidential elections. 

"Without exception, I know them to be hard-working, patriotic Americans,” wrote Burr, later adding, “Unlike many in Washington, though, they check politics at the office door and focus on their mission.”