Russia inquiries overlap in a tangle of secrets and sniping

The New York Times reports: Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election has spawned a tangle of inquiries with competing agendas and timetables, and with little agreement on the most important things that should be investigated.

Staff members for the Senate Intelligence Committee have spent weeks poring over raw intelligence that led the Obama administration to conclude that Russia meddled in the election, but they have yet to be given any access to far more politically charged information — evidence of contacts between Russians and associates of President Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee is conducting its own investigation of issues surrounding Mr. Trump and Russia, but the committee’s Republican chairman has said a top priority is to unmask whoever is speaking to journalists about classified information. Democrats on the committee hope the investigation can force a disclosure of the president’s tax returns.

The progress of these congressional inquiries depends at least in part on a third investigation by the F.B.I., in which counterintelligence agents have been scrutinizing past contacts between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s aides. Officials say the F.B.I. effort will probably take many months or even years, however eager Congress might be for quick answers.

And, while the F.B.I. conducts its investigation in secrecy, the White House insists publicly that there is nothing to investigate. [Continue reading…]

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