The Senate Intelligence Committee’s inquiry into Russian intelligence operations against the United States will investigate any possible links between Russia and American political campaigns, the panel said Friday. The bipartisan investigation will also include a review of the American intelligence agencies’ assessment of what they say was Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including cyberattacks and other so-called active measures. But the committee’s statement Friday evening saying that it would also look into counterintelligence concerns stemming from the Kremlin’s interference, including “any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns,” marked a public shift for the panel.
The committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., told reporters this week that the panel would not be probing possible ties between political campaigns and the Russian government. Questions about such links have come back into the public eye since the publication of a 35-page dossier this week that makes unsubstantiated claims regarding contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Investigating possible ties, however, is a key concern of the committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Mark Warner. The Virginia Democrat said during an open hearing this week on Russian intelligence operations that the panel’s inquiry must probe any links between Russian agents and American candidates or campaigns.