Last week, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a White House ally, gave CBS News an update on his panel's investigation into the Russia scandal. "If we write a report based upon the facts that we have," the GOP senator said, "then we don't have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia."
For Donald Trump, his allies, and other critics of the scandal, it was effectively a case-closed moment. Indeed, the president has published a series of excited tweets on the subject -- including one this morning -- pointing to Burr's quote as if it were an official finding of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
There are, however, others on the panel, who've seen the same intelligence, and who haven't reached the same conclusion. Yesterday, for example, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked about Burr's comments, and he told reporters, "Respectfully, I disagree." NBC News' report added:
Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.
"I'm not going to get into any conclusions I have," he said, before adding that "there's never been a campaign in American history ... that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did."
Given the circumstances -- including the fact that the investigation is ongoing, members are dealing with highly sensitive information, and the committee is still months away from completing its work -- it's not surprising that Warner would be circumspect, especially when speaking with the press.
The Virginia Democrat was, however, willing to make clear that he's seen the same information as Burr, and he's not prepared to endorse Burr's assertion.
What's more, Warner isn't alone on this front. Mother Jones had a related report yesterday, quoting other members of the same intelligence panel.