With Devin Nunes leading the House Intelligence Committee down the “unmasking” blind alley, there’s been a general feeling that at least the Senate investigation appeared to be on track. Multiple articles were written praising Republican Committee Chairman Richard Burr who, despite his own connections to Trump, made good noises about being impartial, country first, etc. But while the House investigation finally seems to be getting back down to business, the truth seems to be that Richard Burr has been following one of the core precepts of Donald Trump: Talk big, but do nothing.
As the Daily Beast reported over the weekend, Burr hasn’t moved the Senate investigation even one step forward. They have no staff …
The investigation does not have a single staffer dedicated to it full-time, and those staff members working on it part-time do not have significant investigative experience.
They have talked to none of the principals …
No interviews have been conducted with key individuals suspected of being in the Trump-Russia orbit: not Michael Flynn, not Roger Stone, not Carter Page, not Paul Manafort, and not Jared Kushner, according to two sources familiar with the committee’s procedures.
And Yahoo News shows how confidence that the senior circuit was going to handle this thing properly has been strongly eroded.
More than three months after the Senate Intelligence Committee launched its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — including allegations of collusion by associates of President Trump — the panel has made little progress and is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry, according to multiple sources involved in the probe.
By “partisan divisions” they mean “Republicans refuse to do anything.”
What’s the biggest sticking point in this machine? Richard Burr, the one guy who was supposed to be proof that Republicans could still behave as adults.
The committee has yet to issue a single subpoena for documents or interview any key witnesses who are central to the probe, the sources said. It also hasn’t requested potentially crucial evidence — such as the emails, memos and phone records of the Trump campaign — in part because the panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has so far failed to respond to requests from the panel’s Democrats to sign letters doing so, the sources said.
And despite that “partisan divisions” talk, the truth is that, if anything, Democrats aren’t pushing hard enough.
But [the ranking minority member Mark Warner’s] handling of the probe has led to grumbling among some of his Democratic colleagues that he has been too reluctant to challenge Burr and press for more aggressive action — for fear of undercutting the perception that he and the Republican chairman are working cooperatively together. “He’s been afraid to even bring up the S-word,” said one source familiar with the details of the investigation, referring to the panel’s authority to issue subpoenas for documents.
Burr is refusing to budge. Warner is too concerned about being the face of cooperation to rock the boat.
And every day finding out the truth just gets harder.