The US Senate Intelligence Committee’s panel chairman claims the investigation into Donald Trump’s election campaign collusion with Russia remains open as the panel intensifies its probe.
Republican Chairman Richard Burr said the committee plans to conduct 25 more interviews with witnesses this month, aiming to complete the main congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the election by the end of 2017.
“The issue of collusion is still open,” Mr Burr said.
“We have not come to any determination on collusion.”
“We continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses.”
He listed three areas where they have exhausted their investigations but did not make any conclusive statements about any of them.
They included a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel when some Trump campaign officials met with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislak, the drafting of the Republican campaign platform as it related to relations with Russsia, and the memos taken by former FBI director James Comey.
Mr Burr said they also interviewed members of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns as well as “every official of the Obama administration to fully understand what they saw…and more importantly what they did and did not do and what drove those actions.”
Mr Burr and Democratic Vice Chairman Mark Warner also warned about the risk to future US elections by Russia, including what is expected to be a close contest for governor of Mr Warner’s home state Virginia next month.
Mr Trump has faced questions about the matter since entering office in January.
A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, Robert Mueller, is conducting a separate investigation that could lead to potential criminal charges against people in the investigation.
The President has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax, while Russia denies meddling.
US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Mr Trump defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton through a campaign of hacking and releasing embarrassing emails.
Mr Burr said the committee agree with the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia had interfered.
“The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion,” Mr Burr said.
“Now, I’m not even going to discuss initial findings because we haven’t any. We’ve got a tremendous amount of documents still to go through.”