The Senate Intelligence Committee found itself shaken by the explosive revelations that Chairman Richard Burr was part of a massive cover-up orchestrated by the White House to steer reporters away from reporting on the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.
Burr’s White House-sanctioned efforts to suppress the media have pulled his committee’s already-delicate investigation on the subject onto even more tenuous footing.
The Washington Post reported last Friday that the White House had recruited Burr to help strike down reporting on the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
Burr told the Post he had those conversations at the behest of the White House, drawing near immediate accusations that Burr was no longer suited to lead the Intelligence Committee’s investigation.
As reported by BuzzFeed News, By Monday afternoon, all of the major parties involved in the debate in Congress — House Intelligence Committee Democrats, House Intelligence Committee Republicans, and Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats — had spoken publicly about the matter. Absent from the public discourse was Burr, one of the incident’s most consequential parties, sitting at the helm of the Senate probe into Moscow’s election meddling.
Faced with mounting evidence, Burr was forced to admit and defend the phone calls. In a pre-scheduled interview with local North Carolina cable station, Time Warner Channel 14, on Monday night, Burr said:
“I didn’t do anything that jeopardized or compromised in any way the integrity of the investigation.”
The conversation, he argues, regarded a New York Times story that said a US government entity had records of phone calls between Trump campaign surrogates and Russian intelligence operatives.
“I simply had two conversations with two different media outlets on one specific thing,” he said.
“I didn’t do anything inappropriate or in any way compromise the integrity of the investigation.”
On Monday, committee staff and members scrambled to somehow save the credibility of the sweeping investigation, though none seemed sure on how, exactly, to do so.