Government

Portman Voices Confidence in Senate Intelligence Probe

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Sen. Rob Portman expressed confidence in the Senate’s ability to investigate allegations of Russian involvement in last year’s presidential election, while allowing that the House Intelligence Committee so far has been “less successful.”

Portman, R-Ohio, visited the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic Friday to meet with clients and discuss local needs in the fight against addiction.

“I’m encouraged by what the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing. They had their first hearing yesterday,” he said.

“The House process has been less successful,” he added.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has been criticized for his performance, most recently for briefing President Donald Trump on claims that members of his transition team were under surveillance by the intelligence community before he informed his full committee.

Portman said the investigation needed to take place publicly to as great an extent as possible, although he said “certain hearings” will need to be held behind closed doors because of the classified information discussed.

The latest twist in the investigation is former National Security adviser Michael Flynn’s offer to the Senate committee to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

According to several media outlets, the committee rejected Flynn’s offer.

In contrast to the House committee, Portman said, the Senate probe is bipartisan, and Chairman Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the committee’s ranking Democrat, have committed to keeping it that way.

“They have a good history of that in that committee,” Portman said. “They spent months on this already. They have people who are qualified and have the clearances to be able to look at all the information. So we ought to let them get to the bottom of this. As they’ve said, they’re going to go where the facts lead them.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.