Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr on Tuesday threatened to subpoena Trump campaign aides if they ignore deadlines to turn over records to his panel, explaining that he had received just two responses to an initial request for information.
“I think all options are on the table, and I think you can envision what those options are,” the North Carolina Republican told reporters. “The most severe would be subpoena.”
The Intelligence panel’s top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, said it appeared that just one person was complying with Tuesday’s initial deadline to provide the committee with records of any meetings they had with Russian officials ahead of the presidential election. Neither Warner nor Burr would name the individual who is complying.
The other individual who has responded to the committee, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, suggested in a letter last week he would not provide the requested records — leading to an angry joint statement from Warner and Burr.
“We’ve received two responses, and we’ll wait to see how the other ones come in,” Burr said Tuesday. “I’m not going to get into who we got them from, but they are individuals that are of high interest to us, and access to documents and access to interviews with them is crucial to our investigation.”
He added that he still hoped to use a voluntary process rather than resorting to subpoenas, noting that Page had waffled in his public remarks about whether he would cooperate with the Intelligence panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.
“I think in some cases we have seen — in the case of Carter Page publicly — a complete reversal in his willingness,” Burr said. “You wait another day, and he may be back to voluntarily doing it. So I don’t want to rush to judgment. I’d rather wait until we see firmly where people are.”
He said the request for records by Tuesday was an initial deadline and that “in some cases there were multiple deadlines that dealt with different requests of documents.”
The New York Times reported last week that the Senate Intelligence panel had asked a number of Trump campaign aides to provide records to the committee of their dealings with Russia, including Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
Burr also told reporters Tuesday that, as of now, President Donald Trump “is not the subject of our investigation.” In addition, Burr said any possible business dealings Trump has had with Russia are “not in the scope of our committee’s investigation,” adding that “I’m sure if there’s a reason to go there, there will be a committee of jurisdiction that will look at it.”
His remarks are certain to rankle committee member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who wrote to Burr and Warner in March urging them to “conduct a thorough review of any and all financial relationships between Russia and President Trump and his associates.”
Burr was also asked Tuesday about Trump dismissing as a “total hoax” the allegations of collusion between his campaign and Moscow. “When will this taxpayer funded charade end?” the president wrote on Twitter Monday.
“What we’re attempting to do in the Senate Intelligence Committee is not a charade,” Burr said in response. “It’s a very serious investigation to look at Russian active measures that tried to shape in some way, shape or form in our elections.”