Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's "interim report" on U.S. missile exports to China is generating a storm of Democratic criticism - and polite skepticism from the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Lott, R-Miss., announced on Tuesday that Senate investigators had "new information" of Chinese efforts to influence the American political process.He also told the Senate that "we have reached five major interim judgments" in the Senate's inquiry into satellite exports.
That was news to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and vice chairman Bob Kerrey, D-Neb.
"As chairman of the committee, I have not made any preliminary judgments as to where we are at this time," Shelby said. "We've only had six hearings. There is a lot of information still to be uncovered.
"The majority leader is entitled to his own judgments or his own conclusions - just like any of us," Shelby said. "Obviously he has made some preliminary conclusions. I think some of the tendencies of the evidence tend to support the judgments he has made."
Democrats were more direct.
"The implication is that the committee has reached some kind of conclusion. It most assuredly has not," said Kerrey.