Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are raising fresh concerns about the GOP-led panel’s appetite for digging into the Russian ties forged by multiple advisers to President Donald Trump. Friction on the committee last spiked in October, when the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), sent a slew of letters to key figures in the Russia investigation without the signature of Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s top Democrat. Feinstein has followed by sending four rounds of letters without Grassley’s signature that seek material from other players in the Trump campaign’s communications with Russian officials — the most recent series of letters coming on Monday. Asked about Grassley’s decision to not sign on, Feinstein told reporters late Monday that “I think there’s an effort, subtle, not to go deeply. And I hadn’t realized it before, but I realize it now,” she continued. “And we’re going to have to find a way to deal with it.”
Feinstein added that she “can’t say” Grassley is trying to shut down the committee’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, including questions of potential obstruction of justice. And relations on the committee have not frayed entirely: Grassley’s and Feinstein’s aides are permitted to attend interviews that result from the other party’s letters of inquiry on Russia matters, according to a panel aide.
Another Judiciary Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, sounded a similar note to Feinstein, describing himself in a brief interview Monday as “very concerned about the stalled and slow pace of the Judiciary Committee. I think it needs to move forward with much greater urgency.”