Congress’s last chance to tell Americans — in a bipartisan way — about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election rests with 15 senators who meet twice a week behind closed doors. The Senate Intelligence Committee has become a rare symbol of unity on the divisive issue of Russia’s role in the presidential race — quite a feat for a panel with members ranging from conservative Trump ally Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to liberal Trump critic Kamala Harris, D-Calif. While bitter partisan fighting ripped apart the House Intelligence Committee and ended its Russia investigation in March with no agreement between Republicans and Democrats, the Senate panel managed to stay united.
Senators said they hope their final report on the Russia investigation — likely to come out by early fall — will present Americans with a bipartisan set of agreed-upon facts about how and why the Russians meddled in the election and whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
“There is a general understanding on our committee that this is a very big, very important national security issue and that it will be helpful to the country if we can be united and try to bring down the drama and the noise,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.
Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, credited Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., with unifying the committee by keeping a promise they made to one another 14 months ago.