Flynn saga shifts balance of power between president, Congress

“I don’t think we need to go through setting up a special committee,” said McConnell. “But we are going to look at Russian involvement in the U.S. election. It’s a significant issue.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) agreed that “Russia’s the elephant in the room.”

“That’s what we need to be dealing with,” Corker said.

Senate Democratic leaders largely agreed with that approach Wednesday, even as some rank-and-file lawmakers said they didn’t trust Republicans to conduct an evenhanded examination of their own party’s White House. The majority party has broad powers to determine the course of an investigation in a Senate committee.

For Democrats, the growing controversy offered an opportunity to renew public scrutiny of Trump’s relationship with Russia, an issue that has hovered over him since the campaign. But they faced their own political quandary as some voices — including party strategists outside Congress — called for the creation of an independent commission over which lawmakers, especially Republicans, would have less control.