Cornyn: Multiplicity of Investigations Is ‘Train Wreck Waiting to Happen’

By Susan Jones | May 19, 2017 | 5:45am EDT
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) briefs reporters following a briefing from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he understands the importance of the executive branch doing its own investigation into Russian influence in the U.S. election, but it raises the prospect of unintentional interference by Congress.

“We don't want to do anything to get in the way, but it seems to me that with all of the various oversight investigations occurring in the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee, subcommittees of those committees, that that is a train wreck waiting to happen.”

Cornyn spoke with reporters following a closed door briefing from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has just appointed a special counsel to take over the FBI’s investigation.

“The other problem is that we could, well, just inadvertently impede an investigation and basically make it impossible for them to take the matter to court, and we don't want to do that.”

Asked if he agrees with President Trump that the appointment of a special prosecutor is a “witch hunt,” Cornyn said he interprets that to mean that Trump believes there’s “no basis” for such an investigation.

“But clearly Russia was very much involved in trying to undermine public confidence in our elections, and it's a serious enough matter that we are conducting a broad bipartisan investigation on the Senate Intelligence Committee that I sit on, getting access to some of the most sensitive raw intelligence that the intelligence community produces.

“So we're taking this enormously serious -- seriously.”

Cornyn said it would be helpful for Congress to name a single point of contact to coordinate its ongoing investigations with the one being launched by Robert Mueller.

“I'm just saying there's going to be a lot of requests being made of the FBI and -- and the Department of Justice as part of this investigation. And so we need to coordinate with Director Mueller as the designated special counsel, how we seek witnesses, we seek documents and that sort of thing.

“Because you can imagine if they're getting multiple requests from all sorts of different committees that it's going to be a lot of confusion, there's going to be delay. I don't think it's in anybody's interest to delay or impede or impair this investigation.”

Cornyn said Congress needs to focus “on what our role is. We're not the FBI, we're not the Department of Justice. We're conducting oversight investigations and that's, I think, our appropriate role.”

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