Warner on Trump Jr., others testifying: "I want to hear from everyone in that meeting"


Following Donald Trump Jr.’s release of emails about a meeting between himself, Trump campaign associates and Russians, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said Sunday that he wants to hear from “everyone in that meeting” to get their version of the story.

“I think we may find out there may have been other meetings as well. We don’t know that yet. But what we’ve seen is a constant effort to hide contacts with Russians. We’ve seen this pattern repeat itself,” Warner said on “Face the Nation.” 

Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that this is the first time the public has seen what he called “clear evidence” that there was a Russian government effort to undermine the Clinton campaign and help the Trump campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“What was remarkable was you saw not only willingness but actually glee from the president’s son as well as involvement of the campaign manager and the president’s son-in-law to say in effect, “Yes, bring it on.” Very troubling. And obviously moves our whole investigation to another level,” added Warner.

Warner added that the administration’s repeated denials over the past year over any connections to the Russian government and meddling in the 2016 election are now put in doubt as well.

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Sen. Mark Warner on “Face the Nation,” July 16, 2017.

CBS News

“Clearly this administration has not been forthcoming about what they know and when they knew it in terms of Russian involvement in the elections,” Warner said.

The New York times first reported that the man who set up the meeting for a Russian government lawyer to give Trump jr. potentially damaging material about Hillary Clinton indicated in a series of emails that Russian government was the source of the information. 

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin,” publicist Rob Goldstone wrote. The email continues “I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.”

The eldest Trump son responded, “Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?” 

The list of people in attendance at the June 2016 meeting has since grown since initial reports, and now includes at least Trump Jr., former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and translator Anatoli Samochornov, as CBS News has reported.   

Warner noted on Sunday that as the Senate Intelligence Committee continues to work in a bipartisan fashion, his Republican colleagues on the committee are also joining him in saying that they need to talk to everyone involved in the meeting.

“I would think if you had a meeting with agents of the Russian government where they were bringing forth information to discredit Clinton and help their then-Candidate Trump I would think a rational person would remember that. That’s one of the reasons why we want, we want to question him and all the other participants of that meeting,” he said.

When pressed if his committee would be looking into further allegations of obstruction of justice committed by the Trump campaign, Warner would only say that it would be up to special counsel Robert Mueller to look into.

“We want to try to make sure we get all the facts out about the involvement of the Trump campaign and the Russians. It’s unfortunately dribbling out because this administration has not been forthcoming,”Warner said. “But I want to get all this information into the public realm.”

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