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Senate Intelligence Committee Refers More Cases of Suspected Lying to Mueller
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=44441"><span class="small">Morgan Chalfant, The Hill</span></a>   
Saturday, 15 December 2018 14:33

Chalfant writes: "Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Thursday that the Senate Intelligence Committee has made 'quite a few referrals' to special counsel Robert Mueller of cases where witnesses questioned in the panel's Russia probe were suspected of lying, adding he expects there will be more."

Robert Mueller. (photo: James Berglie/TNS)
Robert Mueller. (photo: James Berglie/TNS)


Senate Intelligence Committee Refers More Cases of Suspected Lying to Mueller

By Morgan Chalfant, The Hill

15 December 18

 

en. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Thursday that the Senate Intelligence Committee has made "quite a few referrals" to special counsel Robert Mueller of cases where witnesses questioned in the panel’s Russia probe were suspected of lying, adding he expects there will be more.

“We’ve made quite a few referrals,” Burr, who chairs the Senate panel, told The Hill on Thursday afternoon. “I won’t get into the numbers, but where we have found criminality, we have made those referrals, and I’m sure that they’re not the last."

The Senate GOP chairman first revealed in November that the committee had referred cases of suspected lying to Mueller as the panel investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow.

His latest comments come after President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last month to lying to the House and Senate Intelligence committees about plans to build a Trump property in Moscow.

Cohen, who also agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s sprawling investigation, has admitted to lying to Congress in order to minimize Trump’s connection to the proposed project and to limit the ongoing Russia probes.

The former Trump lawyer was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Wednesday for other crimes and will serve a two month sentence concurrently for lying to Congress.

A committee aide told The Hill that the panel did not refer Cohen’s case to Mueller. Instead, Mueller was able to review the transcript from Cohen’s interview with the committee in October 2017 after obtaining consent from Cohen’s attorney, the aide said.

The Senate panel has interviewed a slew of witnesses behind closed doors in its Russia investigation over the course of nearly two years, but lawmakers have signaled that they are not finished with the probe.

The panel has requested to interview Cohen again, among others. Burr said Thursday he is “fairly confident” the probe will wrap up in the spring.

“It’s just a question of how long it takes us to wrap up the remaining folks that we need to interview and those that we need to call back,” Burr said.

It is unclear who the committee believes may have lied during their testimony, or how many referrals the panel has made to the special counsel.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the likely incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said after Cohen's plea that he believes others lied in their testimony before the House panel in its now-defunct Russia probe.

Since Cohen pleaded guilty, some attention has been paid to the transcript of September 2017 testimony from Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s eldest son, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Trump Jr. told lawmakers then that the discussions about a possible Trump Tower Moscow within the Trump Organization “faded away I believe at the end of ’14” and “certainly” did not take place in 2016.

Those details conflict with Cohen’s account to Mueller. According to court filings in the case of Trump’s former lawyer, the discussions continued as late at June 2016, at which point Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Cohen also briefed Trump and members of his family about the project, prosecutors said.

An attorney for Trump Jr. did not immediately return a request for comment.

Trump Jr. testified before the House and Senate Intelligence committees in December 2017. Neither committee has publicly released a transcript his testimony, though the House panel voted to release transcripts of dozens of interviews from its investigation in September. The transcripts, including one from Trump Jr.’s interview, have been passed to the Director of National Intelligence for a classification review.

Others have pleaded guilty to false statements charges in connection with Mueller's probe, such as former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, both of whom admitted to lying to FBI agents about their Russia contacts. Flynn is scheduled for sentencing next week.

Meanwhile, Trump has increasingly lashed out at Mueller's investigation, describing it as a partisan-led "witch hunt" and denying there was collusion between the campaign and Moscow.

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