A bipartisan group of US senators are launching an investigation committee to probe the alleged contacts between associates of Republican President Donald Trump and Russian officials before and after the November 8 presidential election.
Republicans are unexpectedly joining Democrats on the panel and pledging to conduct a serious investigation, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
The bipartisan committee, which is still in early stages, will also investigate contacts that Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn had with the Russian ambassador in the US during the presidential transition.
Flynn resigned earlier this month over disclosures that he discussed US sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador in Washington before taking office and was potentially vulnerable to be blackmailed by Moscow.
According to US intelligence officials, negotiations are underway with US spy agencies, including the CIA, to know how much access the new investigative committee will have to highly classified material.
Reports say Senate Republicans are getting involved in the investigation in an effort to avoid accusations of engaging in a cover-up of the alleged communications with Russia.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said last week that his party was united in supporting an intelligence probe into the allegations, but he still wants an independent commission because he doesn’t fully trust the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I’m just not convinced that Mitch McConnell is going to let the Intelligence Committee get to the real story,” Murphy said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US intelligence agencies have been conducting multiple investigations to determine the full extent of contacts that Trump’s advisers and associates had with Russia during and after the 2016 election campaign.