Nearly a month ago, the top two officials on the Senate Intelligence Committee held a press conference to discuss their probe of the Russia scandal, and one could almost hear the sigh of relief from the political world. Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-Va.), acting very much like grown-ups, said their investigation was on track, and operating in a cooperative, methodical, and bipartisan way.
The point wasn’t subtle: while Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-Calif.) bizarre antics had derailed the House Intelligence Committee’s efforts, Burr and Warner wanted to reassure the public that we could have confidence in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s work.
So much for that idea.
Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff reports today that the Senate’s probe has not only failed to make progress, but it’s also “increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry.”
Democrats on the panel are “privately complaining” that the investigation is underfunded and understaffed, and it appears that those concerns are becoming less private.
Making matters worse, Burr has strictly limited committee members’ access to materials. The North Carolina Republican has also not yet signed letters to key members of Team Trump, seeking documents related to the probe.
The Yahoo News report added that the Senate Intelligence Committee “hasn’t even approached potentially key witnesses to schedule interviews with them” – including witnesses who’ve volunteered to make themselves available.
There’s no reason to be surprised. In mid-December, Burr said he was inclined to largely ignore the Russia scandal. In February, we learned that Burr reached out to reporters about the Russia scandal at the White House’s behest.
And there’s this, from The Fresno Bee:
A violent-crimes prosecutor with the Fresno County District Attorney’s office is planning to challenge incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes in California’s 22nd Congressional District election in 2018.
Andrew Janz, 33, is launching his campaign Tuesday, touting his prosecutorial credentials and his nearly lifelong connections to the Valley – and criticizing Nunes for his close ties to President Donald Trump and concerns over Nunes’ actions related to an investigation of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.
“I’m not a politician; I’ve never considered running for Congress until recently,” Janz told The Bee on Monday. “Most of the stuff in local and national media has pushed me to get involved,” he added, referring to a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether Nunes – chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – mishandled classified information related to the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe.
“I deal with confidential information on a daily basis,” Janz said. “I’m in a profession that’s all about ethics.”