Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, acknowledged in a recent interview that contacts between the Trump campaign and various Russians could merely be a “set of coincidences” instead of a concerted effort to collude.
“I’m reserving my final judgement until we’ve seen all the witnesses we need to see, and we’ve gotten all the facts. So I’m going to hold off,” said Senator Warner in an interview with the New Yorker. Senator Warner was asked whether or not he believed the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in order to win the 2016 presidential election.
Senator Warner’s comments mark the first concession from a ranking democrat with regard to accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to influence the election. Prior to Senator Warner’s comments, all Democrats were all-in with regard to the Trump campaign’s Russia ties. Senator Warner is the first to put those accusations on ice which should give a pretty good indication of the direction the Senate Intel Committee’s is heading in.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is said to be conducting a more credible investigation since there have been few leaks as opposed to the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation which has sprung numerous leaks and has played out in a very public, and politically divisive manner.
Senator Warner stated that the committee is still receiving documentation and interviewing witnesses associated with the investigation and will reserve his final judgement for its completion. “I’m not going to weigh in until we see everyone,” said the Virginia Senator.
Warner was asked whether or not he believed members of the Trump campaign deliberately coordinated with Russians in order to influence the election. “This may all be simply a set of coincidences or it may be… it was not the sophisticated to realize what was happening,” said Warner.
“I’m anxious for this to come to a conclusion,” Warner said regarding the investigation. Warner added that he is “hopeful” the committee will agree to release sections of the committee’s findings every 30 – 45 days.
President Trump has vehemently denied the accusations of Russian collusion and has been labeling the investigation a “witch hunt.” Regardless of the President’s claims of a “witch hunt,” Trump and his attorneys have complied with all requests of documentation from all investigators.
Back in March of this year, the House Select Committee on Intelligence concluded their investigation and announced no evidence of collusion with the Russian government on behalf of the Trump campaign though, the committee was split down party lines. Democrats came out claiming the investigation was a sham while Republicans came out in strong support of the findings.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) Chairs the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the ranking Democrat is Adam Schiff (D-CA). Both have been at each other’s throats since the investigations started. Both Nunes and Schiff have leaked investigatory findings in hopes of swaying public opinion, which is the reason why the House’s findings have been largely ignored. It appears both Nunes and Schiff have been searching for a cudgel to politically bludgeon the other which, as a result, has detracted credibility from the panel’s findings.
The Senate Intel Committee’s Chair is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and his democrat counterpart is Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), both of which have been much more covert in carrying out their investigation. Senator Burr and Senator Warner seem to get along much better than their colleagues in the House of Representatives, which seems to have afforded them more credibility as it pertains to their Russia probe.
The Senate Select Committee has indicated they plan to release four separate reports regarding various facets of their investigation. The Senate Committee has already released their first report, which dealt with election security. If the Senate Committee can hold true to their objective of releasing sections of the final report every 30 – 45 days then it appears the final portion will be released sometime in August of this year.