Resistance To Russia Select Committee Growing Among... Democrats?

Posted: Dec 22, 2016 1:45 PM
Resistance To Russia Select Committee Growing Among... Democrats?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has so far opposed a bipartisan proposal to form a special committee to investigate possible Russian cyber-attacks and subsequent meddling in the U.S. election. Despite pleas from Democratic leadership, he prefers the investigation to be done by the Senate Intelligence Committee. McConnell is apparently gaining allies from unlikely people: Senate Democrats.

The growing opposition from Democrats on forming a select committee comes from members on the Senate Intelligence Committee. In their view, they already will be receiving classified information regarding Russian meddling. Why potentially surrender that power to members of another committee? Also, they do not want to go against the wishes of Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC). The chairman is against forming a special committee and has promised a thorough and extensive investigation into the Russian cyber-attacks.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is keeping the door open to a select committee investigation if Burr fails to investigate thoroughly. Warner is now the top Democrat on the Intelligence committee. For now, however, he is against a formation of a special committee and wants to build a strong partnership with Burr.

“Senator Warner believes Congress is obligated to conduct — and the American people deserve — an investigation that is timely, thorough, and bipartisan,” said Warner spokeswoman Rachel Cohen. “One of the goals of the investigation should be to release as much information as possible, while protecting sources and methods, so that the American people can understand exactly what happened.”

Outgoing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Angus King (an independent who caucuses with the Democrats) are both noncommittal on whether a select committee should be formed. They, too, perhaps are taking a “wait-and-see” approach.

Their resistance may be to the chagrin on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Democrat leader has been publicly adamant about forming a special committee.