Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Overview

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence oversees and analyzes intelligence-related government activities, proposes legislation, and makes sure the United States’ intelligence activities are in accordance with the nation’s laws and the Constitution. The Committee’s 15 Senators (Eight Republicans, Six Democrats, and one Independent who caucuses with the Democrats) have the highest-level access to classified information, and the President, by law, must keep them fully informed. On the rare occasion the President chooses to restrict access to certain covert actions, he still must share information with the Intelligence Committee’s Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Hearings Schedule

Members

Republicans

Democrats

Chairman Richard Burr (NC)

Vice Chairman Mark Warner (VA)

James Risch (ID)

Dianne Feinstein (CA)

Marco Rubio (FL)

Ron Wyden (OR)

Susan Collins (ME)

Martin Heinrich (NM)

Roy Blunt (MO)

Angus King (ME)

James Lankford (OK),

Joe Manchin (WV)

Tom Cotton (AR)

Kamala Harris (CA)

John Cornyn (TX)

 
Focus

The Intelligence Committee is investigating how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and how that interference fits into the larger Russian campaign of cyber attacks and other “active measures”– like creating and spreading fake news stories – against the United States.

The Committee also is looking for any evidence of cooperation between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

On March 29, 2017, Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner committed to working together to uncover the truth, no matter where it may lead.

Notable Developments

December 13, 2017: Donald Trump Jr. spends a full day behind closed doors with committee staffers. CNN reports Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) would like him to come back to meet with the full committee. 

November 1, 2017: Facebook's general counsel Colin Stretch, Twitter's acting general counsel Sean Edgett, and Google's senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker testify before the full committee in an open session to explain what role the companies believe they must play in combatting foreign interference in U.S. elections. It is the second of three appearances for company representatives in two days. Senators express their frustration with how little the tech companies seem to have done to find and weed out bad actors and how slowly they appear to be responding even now in light of how aggressively Russia used social media platforms during and after the 2016 campaign.  

October 4, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) hold a joint press conference to give an update on the committee's progress so far. Senator Burr says the issue of possible collusion remains open, and Senator Warner warns that officials need to be taking the threat of ongoing Russian election interference seriously. "There needs to be a more aggressive, organized 'whole of government' approach," he says.

September 19, 2017: Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, shows up to meet with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators as scheduled. However, seeing Cohen has released an opening statement to the media prior to his appearance, Chairman Burr and ranking Vice Chairman Warner abruptly cancel the meeting. They say they changed the rules after Jared Kushner released a public statement prior to his closed-door session on July 24th because they didn't want witnesses attempting to spin a narrative before speaking with investigators. Cohen is rescheduled for a public hearing on October 25th. 

July 25, 2107: Paul Manafort met with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators to discuss his participation in the June 9th meeting at Trump Tower set up between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Manafort reportedly also gave investigators his notes from that meeting.

July 24, 2017:  Before his meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee members behind closed doors, Jared Kushner releases an 11-page statement saying he had four contacts with Russians in 2016 but insists none of them had anything to do with collusion or election interference. He holds a short press conference at the White House after his meeting, reasserting his innocence and lavishing praise on the president.

July 19, 2017: Jared Kushner’s lawyer tells ABC news that his client will testify in a closed-door session before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday July 24th.

June 13, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Committee and denies any collusion with Russia. He also refuses to answer many of the Senators’ questions about his own behavior and conversations he may have had with the President. (VIDEO)

June 8, 2017: Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Committee and says President Trump lied about firing him because of his performance at the Bureau. Comey says he was fired for his work investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. (VIDEO)

June 7. 2017: Top US intelligence officials National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appear before the Committee but repeatedly dodge and refuse to answer questions about their interactions with President Trump and whether he ever asked them to try to influence the Russia investigations in his favor.  (VIDEO)

June 6, 2017: After more than a month’s delay, President Trump’s Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn begins turning over some personal and business documents subpoenaed by the Committee.

March 30, 2017: Georgetown professor Roy Godson, former National Intelligence Officer Eugene Rumer, and Cyber and Homeland Security expert Clint Watts testify before the Committee. Watts makes news by explaining how Russia uses “active measures” that draw from longstanding propaganda tactics to disrupt democracies. He details how President Trump has been aiding Russian efforts – knowingly or unknowingly – by elevating false news stories, retweeting disinformation, and denying Russian campaign interference. (VIDEO)

Potential Outcome

The Committee intends to issue a bipartisan report detailing its findings on how Russia interfered in the 2016 election and recommending ways the U.S. can prevent future attacks.