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

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Ma & Paws Pet Supplies. Facebook/ Ma & Paws Pet Supplies.
Rimbey residents petition for dog park

Request for approval of dog park will be brought up at Tuesday Oct. 27 Town Council meeting.

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Alberta’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The Alberta government is hoping to get more Albertans employed by moving to limit the number and type of temporary foreign workers it allows into the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta to limit temporary foreign worker program to save jobs for Albertans

Temporary foreign workers already in the province won’t be affected

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

Ceremony marks 64th anniversary of Hungarian revolution, honours settlers

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Most Read