Trump administration denials were ‘clearly false,’ says top Democrat on Senate Intelligence Committee
“We are not trying to re-litigate the 2016 election… We want to make sure we are prepared for when the Russians are back in 2018.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) appeared on two Sunday news shows to discuss the ongoing Senate Intelligence Committee inquiry into the Trump campaign’s coordination — or collusion — with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Multiple Trump officials have “conveniently forgotten” about contact with Russians during the campaign, Warner said, and “it seems like almost every week we find another thread we have to pull on.”
Last week, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted out a series of emails showing that he had knowingly, enthusiastically, met with a Russian lawyer to discuss promised information from the Russian government intended to discredit former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Warner said the meeting was “very significant in terms of all that’s happened. A year ago, senior members of the Trump campaign knew that there was a Russian government effort to try to intervene to help Mr. Trump try to hurt Hillary Clinton.”
The Trump administration has repeatedly denied that there was any interference from Russia in the election and several people in the administration, including Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior advisor, failed to disclose meetings with Russians during the campaign.
Warner told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “all these denials — from the president himself to Donald Trump, Jr., to Paul Manafort — all these denials were clearly false, because they knew about this effort and they failed to reveal it, and that is very, very significant.”
He did not comment on whether Trump officials have broken the law. “Our job is to find the facts. Our job is not to find criminal behavior, that is the job of special prosecutor [Robert] Mueller,” he said. “We are not trying to re-litigate the 2016 election… We want to make sure we are prepared for when the Russians are back in 2018.”
On CNN’s State of the Union, Warner said the he couldn’t say whether anything illegal had taken place, because “we don’t know really what happened at this meeting.”
“What we do know is that Donald Trump, Jr. didn’t tell the truth a number of times,” Warner said. “I’m not sure why we would take anyone at this senior level of the Trump administration at their word.”
“So far, all of the Trump officials have conveniently forgotten about any meetings with Russians until they have seen evidence of them,” Warner noted.
On Meet the Press, Warner pointed out that the president’s failure to admit that the Russians “attacked” the United States makes it difficult to mount a “whole of government response.” Some of the states that were reportedly hacked during the election have not been briefed, he said.
Trump administration denials were ‘clearly false,’ says top Democrat on Senate Intelligence… was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.