(CNN) Monday marked a major turning point in Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation with both former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign associate Rick Gates surrendering to authorities Monday and facing a 12-count indictment.
But on Capitol Hill, the fallout was just beginning to be felt with Republican and Democratic members grappling to understand what impact the recent news would have on their own congressional investigations and the week ahead as the Republicans seek to unveil their tax plan this week.
“The special counsel has found a reason on criminal violations to indict two individuals and I will leave that up to the special counsel to make that determination,” said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who is leading his own Senate investigation into any connections Russia may have had to the Trump campaign. “It doesn’t change anything with our investigation. Two individuals that we’ve gotten documents from. We have, we had interest in them, but clearly the criminal charges put them in the Special Counsel’s purview.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said he would be briefed on the charges Monday afternoon and that when it came to Mueller’s job, he thought President Donald Trump should let the investigation unfold.
“The President should let the special counsel do his job,” Grassley said.
Members were also reacting to news Monday that George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, had pleaded guilty for giving false information to the FBI about his connections to foreign officials with ties to the Russian government.
When asked what his reaction was to the guilty plea, Grassley said “It’s news. So I guess there is not much to say.”
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee told CNN that “Papadopoulos is direct evidence that someone with the campaign was being contacted by Russians with information they had lots of, so-called “dirt,” emails on Hillary Clinton.”
Asked if it fed the collusion narrative, Warner said there were still “more questions to be answered.”
“We continue to see evidence that Russians were reaching out to Trump officials in a variety of ways, offering discrediting information on Hillary Clinton that included their emails,” Warner said.
Meanwhile, Democrats applauded Mueller’s investigation, arguing that the indictments Monday showed that Congress needed to continue its own investigations.