News

Senator Burr: Burden is on the New York Times to prove Comey memo exists

U.S. Senator Richard Burr is voicing skepticism about a New York Times report that President Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to shut down the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told PBS NewsHour if Comey had written such a memo, the Times should produce it.

“Somebody is going to have to do more than just have anonymous sources on this one for me to believe that there’s something there.”

The NYT story came on the heels of a report from The Washington Post on Tuesday that suggested President Trump had shared highly-classified intelligence with Russia.

Trump tweeted earlier in the day he had the ‘right’ to share that data.

Click below to hear Senator Burr’s full interview with PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardin:

News

Senate Intel Chairman Burr ‘troubled’ by Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey

Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey:

“I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.”

Commentary

Burr must do his patriotic duty in Russia investigation

This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer is on the money in pointing out that the nation is depending on North Carolina Senator Richard Burr to step up to the plate and get moving with the investigation in to Russian interference in the U.S. electoral process. Unfortunately, the signs are not encouraging:

“Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina assured the public that the Senate investigation he is charged with leading will be aboveboard. So far, it doesn’t look anything like the balm that could help heal the country’s political wounds. Recent reports from investigative reporters with Yahoo! News, The Daily Beast and CNN suggest the investigation is stalled even as sources claim Russia allegedly tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign through Trump advisers.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he’ll hold a hearing May 8. But the Senate Intelligence Committee hasn’t gathered documents or interviewed key witnesses three months into the probe. Though Democrats have requested evidence such as emails and phone records from the Trump campaign, Burr has yet to sign off on them. And the committee is lightly staffed and doesn’t include those with an intricate knowledge of Russia or have investigative skills….

Intelligence agencies have already determined that a combination of the propagation of Russia-inspired fake news and selectively timed leaks of sensitive emails from Hillary Clinton and other top Democrats through WikiLeaks had an impact on our elections. How to reckon with that reality responsibly to shield ourselves from further incursions is difficult enough. It’s a delicate dance, requiring a firm response without igniting an unnecessary war or hearkening back to the days of the Red Scare.

Without a full, complete nonpartisan investigation, the public will be ill-equipped to assess what policy responses make the most sense, making it that much more difficult to garner widespread support. We get the politics: Burr and his colleagues were sent to Washington to further the agenda of their respective parties. Their supporters expect nothing less.

But there are moments when a political party’s short-term goals must take a backseat to the country’s well-being. This is one of those times. Burr must seize it.”

Clearly, the time for action is now. Burr can show once and for all whether he is a patriotic American or an incompetent political hack in the days to come. Let’s hope for the former.

News, Trump Administration

Jeff Sessions confirmed as Trump’s Attorney General with support from Tillis and Burr

The U.S. Senate pushed through another controversial nominee of President Trump’s Wednesday, confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions on a 52-47 vote to serve as the next U.S. Attorney General.

Democrats objected to Sessions’ record on civil rights and immigration.

But Senator Richard Burr praised the Alabama Republican on social media, calling the new AG a friend with a “record of pursuing justice”:

Senator Thom Tillis acknowledged differences he had with Sessions, but said he was confident in the leadership he would bring to the Department:

On Thursday the Senate will take a final vote to confirm Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., the President’s choice to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Commentary, News, Trump Administration

Two North Carolina residents launch GoFundMe campaign to “buy” Senator Burr’s vote

Given what we know thus far, this seems as if it’s worth a try….

Durham, N.C., February 3, 2017: When North Carolina residents Eunice Chang and Lekha Shupeck realized the only way to get Senator Richard Burr’s attention was to buy it, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to do exactly that: www.gofundme.com/buy-senator-richard-burrs-vote.

Betsy DeVos gave $43,200 to Senator Richard Burr’s reelection campaign, and is getting Burr’s vote for a Cabinet seat in return. Meanwhile, as many North Carolina citizens know first-hand, Burr consistently fails to answer constituent concerns.

He refuses to hold town hall meetings because they “don’t work for him.” It’s near impossible to get in touch with staffers in his offices: phones are “busy,” voicemail boxes are full, and emails and letters are largely ignored. Burr’s office has called his own constituents, trying desperately to get their senator’s attention, “out-of-state[rs]” and “lack[ing] civility and decorum” simply for voicing their opposition to his policy decisions. In the case of the phone campaign against DeVos’ nomination, Burr himself stated that the opposition was a “strategy hatched a long time ago” rather than a genuine outpouring of concern from North Carolina citizens.

Clearly, that $43,200 means that DeVos gets Senator Burr’s attention and vote, while the citizens of North Carolina get dismissed and ignored by the person who is supposed to represent their interests. So if money is the only thing Senator Burr listens to, we want to put our money to work!

Since we believe that what DeVos did by donating to Burr’s campaign was tantamount to bribery and unethical, we won’t be trying to buy his vote directly. Instead, our fundraiser donates directly to Public School Forum of North Carolina, an organization that does important work advocating for better public education in our state’s schools.

The Public Forum’s policy work will be essential in the coming years to help protect public education in North Carolina from DeVos and the regressive efforts of the NC state legislature, whose policies have ensured that North Carolina is 47th in the nation for teacher pay and 45th in overall public school funding according to the NEA.

We hope that by donating to efforts to protect NC public education from an unqualified opponent of public education like Betsy DeVos, we can send a strong message to Senator Burr: if money is the only message you understand, we’re speaking your language now.