Senate Russia Probe May Not Have More Open Hearings, Burr SaysBy
Republican intelligence chairman sees inquiry going into 2018
Democrats pressing for public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said he doesn’t currently see a need for more public hearings in his panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election, but added that he still won’t be able to meet an original goal of wrapping up this year.
“I’m running out of days, aren’t I,” the North Carolina Republican told reporters Tuesday.
Burr said they still have dozens of witnesses to interview behind closed doors. He said he hopes to finish the probe “pretty quickly” next year unless additional information surfaces, but the committee may first issue recommendations on election security while it wraps up the broader investigation.
Burr also said he doesn’t see a need at this point to bring anybody in for a public hearing before the full committee -- a position strongly at odds with Democrats, who have said they want to hear from Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr.
“Whether it’s Jared Kushner or anybody else, the reason they would come back and testify in a public setting would be educational for the American people,” Burr said. “Right now I don’t have anybody that falls into that slot.”
Burr said that could change, “but there’s nobody that is targeted today to be subject of a public hearing.”
Burr said so far everyone they have interviewed has been “extremely helpful and cooperative.”
Democratic senators, including panel Vice Chairman Mark Warner of Virginia and Ron Wyden of Oregon, continue to push aggressively for public hearings with the most significant figures.
“These are all things that the chairman and I need to work through,” Warner said.
“As much of this should be as public as possible so that when we reach our conclusions the public understands how we got there,” said Senator Angus King, an independent who sits on the Intelligence Committee.
Neither Burr nor Warner would confirm a Politico report that Trump Jr. will participate in a long-awaited staff interview with the committee Wednesday.