The Russia Connection

Reflecting on the Senate Intelligence Committee's Russia Update

By Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes
Monday, October 9, 2017, 3:15 PM

Last week, on our feed at Foreign Policy, we gave seven takeaways from the press conference on the Russia investigation that Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the heads of the Senate intelligence committee, gave last Wednesday. The piece begins:

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a press conference this week to give a status update on its Russia investigation. In some ways, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said relatively little. There were no bombshell revelations. And press coverage was muted.

But the two committee leaders actually communicated quite a lot to those willing to listen closely — and they offered a pile of tea leaves to those who care to study them carefully for gleanings.

We’d previously noted the various issues the Intelligence Committee’s report would need to address to be satisfactory. The precise scope of the investigation still isn’t clear. But here are seven major readouts we took from the press conference, some based on things Burr and Warner said explicitly, some based on things they conspicuously did not say, and some based on inferences from what they said. Taken together, a useful portrait emerges of the state of the intelligence panel’s investigation, what questions it will and will not seek to answer, and what work that means other actors will have to pick up.