The House and Senate intelligence committees must do more to coordinate their parallel Russia investigations or risk reaching conflicting conclusions, the House’s top Russia investigator, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), said Wednesday.
“We’ve got to put something in place,” Conaway said, calling such efforts a “work in progress.”
The congressional probes — along with a special counsel and FBI investigation — are examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the prospect that campaign associates of President Donald Trump may have aided the Russian effort. But their urgency seemed to reach a new height this week, amid newly public revelations that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in order to obtain what he was told would be incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton.
Conaway said Wednesday that he learned of the younger Trump’s meeting through press accounts. But Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told CNN that the Senate intelligence committee knew some details of the meeting in April.
Conaway said the discrepancy pointed to the need to “deconflict” both congressional investigations, particularly to avoid reaching competing conclusions. Asked how that would be possible when both committees have largely interviewed different witnesses, Conaway expressed confidence that by the end of the investigations “we’ll wind up interviewing most of the same folks.”
Conaway also said it would “make some sense” if the committees issued a unified report at the end of their probes – but he said he was unsure whether that was a concrete possibility.