WASHINGTON -- A leading lawmaker on the Senate Intelligence Committee says President Donald Trump has hampered the panel’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election by not accepting the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel, made the remarks in a CNN interview to be broadcast on July 2.
The Senate committee is one of several investigating not only Russian meddling but also contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials.
“In terms of contacts and collusions, I’ve never seen so much smoke and so many possible threads,” Warner said, according to a transcript.
He also warned Trump’s reluctance to accept the conclusions of the intelligence community was harming efforts to prevent intrusions in future elections.
In addition to the congressional probes, the FBI had been investigating contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials. But Trump fired its director in May, which led to the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the investigation.
The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is ramping up his efforts with new powerhouse hires, including a well-regarded federal prosecutor from New York City who was involved in the prosecution of politicians accused of corruption.
Mueller is also reportedly looking into whether Trump sought to obstruct the FBI’s investigation, which is a felony crime.