For their September/October magazine, Mother Jones ran an article profiling Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of the harder Republicans to pin down on willingness to hold President Donald Trump accountable.
Burr’s conflict began in 2016, when — faced with a competitive election and a serious challenge from Democratic state Rep. Deborah Ross — he joined Trump’s team as a security adviser. His closer ties to Trump helped him get elected — but in the process of protecting him, Burr also downplayed the Russia threat. Despite the CIA briefing him in his capacity as intelligence chairman about Russian efforts to help Trump, he told Foreign Policy, “I have yet to see anything that would lead me to believe that’s the case.”
Burr also initially resisted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to get him to open an investigation, but ultimately agreed to it. McConnell, however, was widely suspected of only supporting an investigation to reduce the likelihood of a special counsel being appointed — which ultimately was for naught.
With all that said, once Burr began investigating, he didn’t behave quite like his House GOP counterpart Devin Nunes (R-CA) did, trying to outright shut the book on Russia and instead investigate the investigators. As Mother Jones noted, his is the only committee in either chamber that has conducted a Russia investigation on a bipartisan basis, keeping Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in the loop, infuriating pro-Trump pundits like Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs. He also drew GOP outrage for subpoenaing Donald Trump Jr. after evidence emerged he lied to the committee.
Nevertheless, he has still frustrated Democrats on plenty of occasions. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) complained that Burr has held few public meetings, saying, “There’s a lot of work to do before the Senate Intelligence Committee proclaims mission accomplished on its Russia report.” Moreover, former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report suggests Burr was feeding inside information about FBI investigative activities to the Trump White House, which would be an abuse of his power as a member of the “Gang of Eight.”
When the history books are written on the Russia investigation, then, it would seem that whether you support or oppose Trump, Burr’s actions make him neither a clear-cut hero nor a clear-cut villain.
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.
The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.
It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.
Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.
"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."
Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.
White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."
Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.
Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.