Richard Burr found himself in the middle of a pandemonium regarding recent allegations of communicating with Russia.
“I simply had two conversations with two different media outlets on one specific thing,” Burr said in a press release. “I didn’t do anything inappropriate or in any way compromise the integrity of the investigation. “I felt I had something to share that didn’t breach my responsibilities to the committee in an ongoing investigation.”
Burr has expressed his criticism for media coverage from CNN and The New York Times. Since Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, he is expected to objectively and honestly assess Trump’s actions.
However, his accused bias towards Trump has raised a few concerns from the Democrats, claiming that Burr is not adequately executing his job.
“Richard Burr’s decision to help the White House rebut negative news stories certainly gives the appearance, if not the reality, of a lack of impartiality,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated in a press release.
“I was very disappointed in chairman Burr’s contact when the administration asked him to contact news organizations,” said Schumer. “So, senator Burr is on notice because what he did was wrong and this is not the way to conduct a fair, impartial investigation that goes wherever the facts lead.”
Democratic senator Mark Warner provided further clarification on Burr’s actions, calling for independent review.
“I will not accept any process that is undermined by political interference,” Warner stated in a press release. “I am consulting with members of the Intelligence Committee to determine an appropriate course of action so we can ensure that the American people get the thorough, impartial investigation that they deserve, free from White House interference.”
Warner added that if the GOP is unable to perform an unbiased examination, he will hinder their efforts entirely.
“If I determine that the Intelligence panel cannot properly conduct an independent investigation, I will support empowering whoever can do it right,” Warner said.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland both released their testimony on this divisive controversy.
“We must have a truly independent commission to investigate the actions of the President, his campaign, his associates, and Russian officials and agents,” Cummings stated. “The American people will not stand for an investigation that is tainted, that inappropriately shares information with the President’s team, or that serves as nothing more than the President’s political mouthpiece.”
A few members of the Republican party voiced their opinions on the investigation, as well.
On Friday, February 24 Rep. Darrell Issa stated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not be overseeing the Trump administration’s contact with Russia.
“You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take — not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee.”
Richard Burr continued to defend and advocate for Jeff Sessions, when reporters questioned him about the recent investigation.
“I trust Jeff Sessions,” Burr said. “The attorney general has said he would recuse himself when needed, and I trust him to make what he feels is the appropriate decision as to his involvement in any investigation into Russian active measures and the 2016 election.”
Other GOP members have either avoided answering questions about the subject as a whole, or supported Sessions.
Intelligence committee member Sen. Roy Blunt said that Sessions did not do anything out of the ordinary.
“It is very normal for Sessions, as a senator, to have talked to the Russian ambassador without discussing the election,” Blunt stated.
Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corke, added that he “can’t imagine Jeff Sessions ever knowingly not telling the truth.”
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced that he has not witnessed any signs of improper communication between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“We still have not seen any evidence of anyone from the Trump campaign or any other campaign, for that matter, that’s communicated with the Russian government,” Nunes stated. “As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls.”
Nunes added that this does not rule out any evidence of phone calls, it just means he has not personally seen them.
“That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I don’t have that,” Nunes said. “And what I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there.”