Senate Russia Probe Going to Plan, Says Lankford
The U.S. Senate investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is moving steadily, despite reports to the contrary, said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford in an interview with NPR's Rachel Martin on Tuesday morning.
On Sunday, the Daily Beast published a story revealing that the investigation had no full-time staff members and is moving more slowly than previous Senate intelligence probes. Lankford refuted these reports.
Lankford, a Republican who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the committee's probe, which began five months ago, is not taking an unusually long time for an investigation of a complex and top-secret nature.
"When you’re dealing with thousands of pages of documents and trying to get organized, that is the nature of it. It takes a while, as it does for any case," he told Martin.
Lankford also said that the investigation is employing an adequate number of staff with top-secret security clearance. They are full-time employees of the intelligence community and are given as much time as they need to work on the probe, he said.
While the progress of the investigation needs to be confidential for the time being, it will eventually explore all relevant issues, including President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia, said Lankford.
“We’re trying to evaluate what is happening, what is coming at us internationally. That’s the nature of intelligence and we won’t apologize for that,” he said.