WATCH: Sen. Mark Warner Gives Jake Tapper Huge List of Reasons FBI Had to Suspect Trump
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday and ran down a comprehensive list of the investigations and allegations against President Donald Trump as they relate to Russian collusion, including that the FBI investigated whether he was acting on Russia’s, or Vladimir Putin‘s, behalf.
Warner, who is the top dem on the Senate Intelligence Committee, read off an impressive litany to anchor Jake Tapper that was so comprehensive the host thought the Senator was done several times before he actually was.
To start, Tapper asked the big question directly: “Do you think the president of the United States ever worked on behalf of the Russians against American interests?”
“Well, Jake, that’s the defining question of our investigation and the Mueller investigation,” said Warner. “Was there collusion?”
“I’m not going to talk about what we may have been briefed, in the gang of eight, when these investigations opened, he said. “But I do think it’s curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you had Vladimir Putin policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump.”
“You had Trump say only nice things about Putin. He never spoke ill about Russia,” his list began. “The Republican campaign doctrines softened on Russia, and decreased their willingness to defend Ukraine. There was a series of outside actions. I think all remember when Trump and his bluster basically said to the Russians, if you’ve got more e-mails, bring them on. These are not actions of a traditional President for the United States.”
Tapper attempted to jump in but Warner wasn’t finished yet.
“I just think we need to put this all three pieces of what happened in context of last week.” Warner continued. “We have the story of the level of concern that the FBI had — again, if the story is correct — in a sense, open their own investigation, whether Donald Trump was compromised. We have on top of that, the fact of the most recent story that Trump had a series of meetings with Putin, which he broke all protocol, where normally these meetings you bring in top aides, so that there is some record, so that you can have the appropriate follow-up. In these meetings he brought in [former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] once, but the other meetings were simply with the interpreter. And the interpreter was then restricted on, in a sense, sharing that information. To the point that we still don’t know, the American government does not know, what was discussed between Trump and Vladimir Putin in that, frankly, pathetic, embarrassing encounter where Trump was kowtowing on the world stage to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.”
Warner was still not finished, though Tapper was clearly ready to follow-up.
“Finally, I know people have to stretch their memory, but we have to remember all the way back at the beginning of the week when the stories came out that Trump’s campaign chairman was sharing proprietary campaign data with a known Russian agent, Mr. Kilimnik,” said Warner. “Kilimnik who has ties both to Putin and Kilimnik who has ties to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The very same oligarch the Trump Administration now wants to try to remove the sanctions on.”
Warner said that this represented the pieces that comprise the rationale for the investigations and for their concerns.
Tapper note that Warner had “just said a lot,” but first followed-up on whether the leaders of House intelligence committees were had been briefed on the FBI investigating Trump as having been working for Russian interests.
“You seem to confirm that as a member of the gang of eight,” said Tapper. “Which is congressional leadership and the leadership of the House and Senate intelligence committees, you just seemed to confirm that you had been briefed when this counterintelligence investigation was launched –”
Warner interrupted to say he wouldn’t comment on the content of briefings. Tapper said he was not asking for the content, but that Warner “seemed to confirm that it happened. “You were advised as a member of the gang of eight?”
Warner would only confirm that subsequent to the briefing “there was of enough concern that the Senate intelligence committee, in a bipartisan fashion, the House intelligence committee, in a slightly less bipartisan fashion, launched investigations.”
Tapper then pushed back, noting that Trump has listed in his defense many actions the administration has taken that were against Russian interesting, including “sweeping sanctions on dozens of Russian officials and oligarchs, selling defensive weapons to the Ukrainians.”
“He did do that,” said Tapper. “How do you square it if you think he’s working on behalf of Russia or throwing out the possibility. Why would he send defensive weapons to the Ukrainians? Why would he sign sanctions against Russians?”
Warner said those actions came from bipartisan concerns in Congress, not from the White House, and that Trump wouldn’t have been able to veto them. He said Trump was “slow” in putting sanctions into action, and that Trump is already attempting to undo some, again citing Deripaska.
Before moving on, Tapper gave the blunt question one more time. “This is a very quick yes or no question,” he said. “Do you think President Trump is wittingly or unwittingly an agent of the Russians?”
Warner gave a long answer again, but finally said “it is a very real question.”
“Okay, so, the answer is you don’t know yet,” said Tapper, to which Warner nodded affirmatively.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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