Report Disputes NBC News Claim That Senate Russia Probe Nearing End, 'No Collusion' Statement Also In Doubt

A report earlier on Tuesday by NBC News claiming the Senate Intelligence Committee was "approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election," and that committee's investigation had found "no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia," was quickly disputed by a later report sourced to an aide on that committee.

According to Atlantic Monthly Trump-Russia reporter Natasha Bertrand reporting via her Twitter account, the committee aide said, "We are closer to the end than the beginning, but we're not wrapping up."

The committee's Republican Chair, Richard Burr of North Carolina, said in a CBS News interview last week that the committee's investigation was uncovering "something larger, more complicated and, from a counterintelligence perspective, more nefarious" than an isolated Russian operation to sway the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. Burr also said that the committee could be investigating the scandal "for the next decade."

As the Inquisitr reported earlier on Tuesday, Burr told NBC that "there is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia."

But according to Bertrand's report, others on committee are not so sure. "Right now there is 'a common set of facts' that the panel is working with, 'and a disagreement about what those facts mean,'" the Atlantic reporter wrote, quoting the committee aide.

Senators Marek Warner and Ricard Burr confer.
Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla
Senate Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Mark Warner (l) speaks to committee Chair Richard Burr (r).

Bertrand on Twitter added that in the NBC News report's assertion that the "Senate has uncovered no direct evidence" of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, "the word 'direct' is doing a lot of work here."

The author of a bestselling book on the Trump-Russia scandal also said on his Twitter account that use of the word "direct" indicates that there may indeed be evidence of such a conspiracy.

"When you read that a Congressional committee hasn't yet found 'direct evidence' of something, understand that all they're saying from an evidentiary standpoint is that no one has confessed yet nor has any explicit contract been found — neither of which things anyone expected," wrote Seth Abramson, author of the book Proof of Collusion.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, also disputed Burr's quoted interpretation of the evidence uncovered by the committee, according to a CNN report.

"Respectfully, I disagree," Warner told CNN on Tuesday. "I'm not going to get into any conclusions I've reached because my basis of this has been that I'm not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back."