Burr submits final Russia report before leaving chairmanship

Burr submits final Russia report before leaving chairmanship

WASHINGTON — Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr on Friday submitted the final report in the panel’s three-year Russia investigation to the intelligence community for a declassification review. The move came hours before he was to temporarily step aside as chairman of the panel.

The report on the panel’s counterintelligence findings – including whether President Donald Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia — marks the conclusion of its Russia probe, which it first launched in January 2017. But the panel did not immediately release any of the findings and instead asked the intelligence community to quickly allow the release of a declassified version of the report.

Burr said Thursday that he would temporarily give up his chairmanship after federal agents examining his recent stock sales showed up at his home Wednesday with a warrant to search his cellphone. Friday was his last day in the position.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Burr exploited advance information when he unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks in February, days before the coronavirus pandemic caused markets to plummet. Burr has denied any wrongdoing.

The final submission brought an unceremonious end to the yearslong investigation that occasionally landed Burr, a North Carolina Republican, in trouble with his own party. It had been the final known investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia that was still active.

Burr worked closely with the top Democrat on the panel, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, on a bipartisan basis to uncover Russia’s attempts to sow chaos in American elections. The committee had particular success in pushing social media companies to publicly reveal that Russia had used their platforms for misinformation and to make subsequent reforms to prevent such interference in the future.

Committee members have remained quiet on the panel’s conclusion on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia. But Burr has said several times that he has seen no evidence of such collusion, a conclusion that would be in line with the House Intelligence Committee’s own Russia report in 2018. It is unclear if the panel’s Democrats would endorse such a determination, even though the first four reports from the Senate committee were bipartisan.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller also investigated whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia. Mueller’s report, released in April 2019, identified substantial contacts between Trump associates and Russia but did not allege a criminal conspiracy between his campaign and the Kremlin. Mueller also examined about a dozen possible instances of obstruction of justice and said he could not exonerate the president on that point.

The Senate panel also sent its other four reports to the intelligence community for declassification and in some cases waited years for a response. In the other cases, however, the panel released its general findings first.

The prior reports looked at Russia’s social media interference, election security, the response of the Obama administration to the Russian meddling and the intelligence community’s 2017 assessment that Russia had intervened in Trump’s favour. The committee endorsed that assessment in a bipartisan report this year.

Burr will continue to serve on the committee, and the panel’s work will continue as usual, including a vote next week to approve the nomination of Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence. The committee will vote on Ratcliffe’s nomination Tuesday, according to a committee aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it before it was announced.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said who will temporarily replace Burr as chairman. Next in seniority is Idaho Sen. James Risch, who told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t know whether he would keep his current perch as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or move to the intelligence panel.

Following him is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who now heads the Senate Small Business Committee. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who chairs the Senate Aging Committee, is third in line.

___

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

Russia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacombe salon alters cleaning procedures to protect clients, staff

Hairapy owner pleased to be able to ‘do what they do best’ again

Rams volleyball returning three veterans, new coach next season

Veterans hope to use leadership learned from this season

Lacombe Council approves 2020 property tax rate

Most residential and non-residential property owners will see a decrease in their property tax bill

Lacombe’s Local Improvement Tax Policy intended to ensure fairness

Local improvement can be initiated by the City based on direction from Council

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The Lacombe Express covers the stories that matter to you and to our community

Trump preparing order targeting social media protections

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”

USMCA poised for star turn in trade spotlight as White House sours on China

Pandemic accelerates U.S. efforts to pull back from China

Legal experts weigh in on Meng Wanzhou decision from B.C. Supreme Court

The court will now hear arguments about whether Meng’s arrest was unlawful

If an MP heckles in a virtual House of Commons, does it make a sound?

If an MP heckles in a virtual House of Commons, does it make a sound?

How much will be enough when it comes to Canada’s COVID-19 supply?

How much will be enough when it comes to Canada’s COVID-19 supply?

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors in early June

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors in early June

Advocates push Ottawa to fix long-term problems with long-term care

Advocates push Ottawa to fix long-term problems with long-term care

Most Read