The various committees in Congress investigating the Russia election meddling charges are looking to avoid possible conflicts with the FBI probe overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, but the former FBI director "has done nothing so far to provide clarity," Politico reported Sunday.
Senate and House Intelligence Committees have reached out to Mueller to make sure their efforts to uncover information about possible Russia involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign don't hinder those being conducted by the FBI. So far, Mueller has failed to agree to a meeting with the lawmakers.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that oversees the FBI, said he is halting his investigation for now and is urging other intelligence committees to do the same.
"One of the realities of having somebody looking into potential criminal charges is that you've got to be careful what you do in Congress," said Graham.
"I need to talk to people who have done this before and make sure we don't interfere with an investigation," he added. "And we need sort of an agreement with Mueller as to how we interact."
Leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees say they're moving forward, but will look to set up "deconfliction" agreements to ensure they don't interfere with the FBI investigation.
The FBI is a criminal investigation while the ones in Congress seek to ferret out the facts and are conducted in public. Information from the FBI probe might never be known to the general public.
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., serves on the House Intelligence Committee, and said it was important for the investigations to continue in Congress because they had a "slightly different" mission than the FBI.
"We're not there to discover evidence of and to prosecute a crime," Himes said. "We're there to really understand all the forces and aspects of the Russian hack. The scary scenario is more a scenario where the FBI does what they do, and we don't get the benefit of what they have learned just because they decide to prosecute this individual but not that individual."
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