Just a few weeks ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee looked like the best hope for those of us holding out hope that Congress might conduct a serious investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
No more. The Daily Beast reported on Sunday that the Senate panel has yet to hire extra investigators and that none of the seven staffers assigned to the Russia probe are working on it full-time. Those staffers also lack significant investigative experience, the report said, and key witnesses have yet to be interviewed.
The revelations underscore the need for bipartisan action to empanel an independent commission, with full-time professional investigators and lawyers and a mandate to get to the bottom of Russia’s electoral espionage and the Trump campaign’s connections – if any – to it. A commission would likely include a bipartisan group of distinguished Americans, including retired judges, retired senior military leaders, and legal scholars.
Common Cause has repeatedly called for a commission; during the congressional recess ending today, our activists delivered petitions signed by tens of thousands of people asking Congress to launch an independent investigation.
The apparent breakdown in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe comes as its House counterpart appears to be getting back on track after weeks of partisan infighting.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA, the House Intelligence Committee’s senior Democrat, announced on Friday that FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers have been invited to testify during a closed committee hearing next week.
USA Today reports that the House committee also has sent letters to former CIA director John Brennan, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates inviting them to an open hearing that will be scheduled sometime after May 2.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Voting and Elections