Washington (CNN)Senate intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr said Wednesday he’s requested former FBI Director James Comey’s memos from the FBI and is confident he will get access to the documents soon.
“I’ve made the request from the FBI, and I feel confident we will have access to them,” the North Carolina Republican said. “I’m comfortable with the fact I will have access to them.”
Burr, who is leading the Senate’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election, said the FBI has not yet provided the committee with access to Comey’s memos, which detail the former FBI director’s interactions with President Donald Trump in private meetings.
Burr said he expects to view the documents soon, though he declined to get more specific on a timeline.
“We continue to have discussions relative to where that access is,” he said.
Burr told Politico Wednesday he has a commitment to access the Comey memos. But the intelligence chairman later said that it’s never been a question in his mind whether he would ultimately be able to view the memos.
“I haven’t doubted whether I could get the memos. We’re the oversight committee,” he said. “It’s only open from the standpoint of you guys. I haven’t been denied any documents that I’ve requested from any agency to date.”
Comey’s memos have been at the heart of the congressional Russia investigations, and helped prompt the naming of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month. Comey testified earlier this month that he had a friend leak his memo — which asserted that Trump asked him to drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn — in order to try to get a special counsel to take over the FBI’s Russia probe.
Burr told CNN that his committee’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials is making “tremendous progress” four-and-a-half months into the probe.
He said the committee has interviewed more than 40 witnesses and is still looking into the question of collusion.
“There have been public comments that suggest that there’s been no overwhelming evidence to suggest that there was collusion, but we have to chase down every potential pathway that we see,” Burr said. “When we conclude all those, we’ll make a final report.”
Burr added that his committee’s investigation was “quite a bit ahead” of both the Justice Department’s investigation as well as the investigation in the House intelligence committee.
“We’ve had no problems with accessing witnesses — quite a bit ahead of where the special counsel’s investigation is,” he said. “We’re quite a bit ahead of where the (House) investigation is. But again, I see the special counsel on a different pathway. He’s looking at criminality, and that’s not the subject of the senate investigation.”
Burr spoke to Mueller on Wednesday by phone. Burr and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, met with the special counsel earlier this month to de-conflict the committee’s investigation with Mueller’s probe.
Burr said after the initial Mueller meeting that he had received “clarity” on Comey’s memos, but he said Wednesday that Mueller did not have the documents.