Russian Inquiry Led By Burr Nearing Completion

Apr 2, 2019

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee arrives for testimony from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, before a closed door hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Washington.
Credit AP Photo / Alex Brandon

U.S. Senator Richard Burr wants to finish his committee’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election by this August. The three-term Republican chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. For more than two years that panel has been trying to determine Russia’s level of interference during the 2016 election.

Burr told reporters Monday, that while he has yet to read the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller, he would be surprised if it does not reference two specific interviews conducted by his committee. Burr is also optimistic that that inquiry, which has now lasted more than two years, will be complete and a report will be produced by the time senators leave for a summer recess.

“I’m on that timeline. I haven’t hit timelines in the past, and since we’re not finished I can’t anticipate today whether we’re going to run into something else, but we have a much smaller deck of individuals and things that we have to go through to write the report,” Burr said.

This investigation is a counter-intelligence effort, not a criminal inquiry like the Mueller report. Burr’s panel has, however, referred several individuals for criminal prosecution.

Burr discussed national emergencies, cyber security, and the general tenor of politics Monday night at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.  He also addressed the recently released budget plan by President Trump. Burr was asked what proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation could mean for North Carolina.

“My initial comment is: don’t worry,” Burr said. “It’s a president’s budget. Congress pays no attention to presidents' budgets. And it’s just as true with Trump as it was with Obama, as it was with Bush, as it was with Clinton.”   

Burr is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate, following five terms in the lower House. He plans to retire in 2022.