The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking at the presidential campaign of the Green Party’s Jill Stein for potential “collusion with the Russians,” a sign that the panel’s probe is far from over, even as allegations swirl that the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is racing to a close.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters Monday that the Senate Intelligence Committee has “two other campaigns that we’re just starting on,” in addition to the panel’s ongoing probe of alleged ties between the Trump administration and Kremlin officials. One of those he identified as Stein’s; Burr has indicated previously that the committee is also looking into reports that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid for research that went into a dossier detailing allegations of Donald Trump’s 2013 exploits in Moscow.
Stein was present at a 2015 dinner in Moscow that was also attended by Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose contacts with Russian officials have been a chief focus of congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe. Flynn and Stein were photographed at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sat next to Flynn and across the table from Stein.
Stein released a statement Monday night defending her campaign’s transparency and integrity.
“Our communications with Russian individuals regarding an invitation to speak on international relations at the RT 10th anniversary media conference will confirm what we stated publicly at that time and since: that we did not accept any payment or even reimbursement for the trip,” Stein said.
The expansion of the investigation to include Stein suggests that the Senate intelligence probe will continue well into next year. That stands in contrast to the House, where Democrats have been charging that Republicans are pushing the House Intelligence Committee to finish up its investigation by the end of this year — before, Democrats say, it can be responsibly completed.
The House Intelligence Committee this week has or is scheduled to interview a number of high-profile witnesses, including: Rob Goldstone, the music producer who helped set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016; Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI; Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman who was a close associate of Trump’s; and Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime aide and often referred to as the “gatekeeper” for Trump Tower. The interviews of Graff and Sater are expected to take place in New York — another sign, Democrats say, that House Republicans are rushing.
Burr pushed back Monday on reports that the House Intelligence Committee would soon shut down its probe.
“I’ve heard the House guys actually say that’s not true,” Burr said.
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), who is running the House’s investigation, would not answer questions Monday about the probe’s timing, even as he confirmed the Goldstone and McCabe interviews. Conaway said he would not be attending this week’s interviews in New York.