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Senate panel submits final volume of Russian interference probe for classification review

Senate panel submits final volume of Russian interference probe for classification review
© Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday it has submitted the fifth and final volume of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election for classification review, marking one of the last steps before the sprawling probe concludes.

The committee sent the fifth bipartisan report, which pertains to its counterintelligence findings, to the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for review. The panel also said it submitted nearly 1,000 pages with redaction recommendations in the hopes that it may help speed up the review process for an unclassified version of the report to be approved.

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has submitted the fifth and final volume of its bipartisan investigative report into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to the Office of Director of National Intelligence for classification review," said Intelligence Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe MORE (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-Va.), who have led the panel's Russia probe.

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The committee previously released four other volumes that examined election security, Russia's disinformation campaign, the Obama administration's handling of Russian interference and the committee's review of the intelligence community assessment.

One day before the classification announcement, Burr announced that he was temporarily stepping aside as chairman of the Senate panel amid an investigation into his stock trades made shortly before the coronavirus outbreak.

Burr said in a statement that the panel's work is “too important hindering it in any way.”

It is unclear who will take Burr's place in the interim.

The Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation will conclude after the panel spent more than three years examining the Kremlin's impact on the presidential race between President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Hillary Clinton backs Manhattan DA candidate in first endorsement of year NSA leaker Reality Winner released from federal prison MORE.

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It will be the last investigation into the 2016 election to wrap up, following former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation that ended last year and the House Intelligence Committee's probe which concluded in 2018.

Mueller's probe did not find evidence that members of the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with Russia during the 2016 election, but he did not make a determination either way as to whether Trump obstructed justice. The former FBI chief's report extensively detailed years-long, multi-pronged attacks by Russia to sow discord in the U.S. through cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns.