Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said Sunday that there is “no doubt” that the Senate’s investigation into Russia’s role in last year’s presidential election will be fair.
“I think there’s no doubt this will be a fair inquiry,” Cotton told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “We’re already well under way, it’s been conducted in a bipartisan fashion and Democrats and Republicans have been working well on it.”
During the interview with Todd, Cotton declined to criticize White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who attracted scrutiny late last week in the wake of a report that administration officials had asked the FBI to push back on reports that the bureau had found evidence of contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government before the election.
Those reports have prompted the president’s critics to raise the question of whether his campaign was aware of or involved in the cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials that intelligence officials say were carried out by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election. Trump’s campaign has denied any such wrongdoing.
The White House reportedly also contacted officials including Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to enlist them to talk to journalists and push back on the reports about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia. Todd noted that the White House’s contact with Burr has raised questions about whether his committee’s investigation will be fair.
Cotton, a Republican who sits on the Intelligence Committee, said the White House did not contact him with such a request.
When asked, Cotton also argued that it is too early to demand that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Trump campaign surrogate, recuse himself from any investigation into the Russia issue. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, joined Democrats this weekend in calling for a special prosecutor to take on the case.
“I think that’s way, way getting ahead of ourselves here, Chuck,” Cotton said. “There’s no allegations of any crime occurring. There’s not even indication that there’s criminal investigations under way by the FBI, as opposed to counterintelligence investigations, which the FBI conducts all the time as our main counterintelligence bureau. If we get down that road, that’s a decision that Attorney General Sessions can make at the time.”