Tom Cotton says Senate is making progress on Russia investigation

On CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election has been going on for months.

“A lot of work we’ve been doing predates the inauguration,” Cotton, a member of the committee, told moderator John Dickerson. “It predates the election. Because Russia has been trying to interfere with our political system for some time.”

Both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are probing Russian cyber activity and potential links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

According to Cotton, the investigation in the Senate has made significant progress.

“In the Senate Intelligence Committee, we’re fairly far along in our inquiry,” he said. “We’ve been preparing to conduct interviews. We’re reviewing documents.”

The Arkansas senator said that the ongoing Senate investigation of Russian interference has been concealed from the public because of its “very classified, very sensitive material.”

He referred to “materials of such sensitivity that I’ve never been given access to them and most members of the committee have never been given access to them before.”  

Last Monday, when FBI Director James Comey testified before the House committee, he revealed that the agency began investigating possible Russian interference in July 2016.  

Cotton was also asked whether the surprise announcement made last Wednesday by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-CA, about “incidental collection” of some communications possibly involving Mr. Trump and/or some people associated with his presidential campaign has affected the congressional investigations.  

“You know, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are two different committees. We work in different ways,” Cotton said. “I’m confident the Senate Intelligence Committee is going to do its work in a careful, deliberate, and bipartisan fashion, as we have been for the last several months.”