Warner: Need to follow facts where they lead in Russia probe

Virginia senator provides insight


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 1, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, last night, during and after the president's speech, we had a chance to talk to a lot of the luminaries in both parties about this ongoing concern about whether a special prosecutor is necessary to look into the Trump's administration's ties and their people with Russia.  

Darrell Issa, who had seemed to be calling for that, the Republican California congressman, sort of dialed it back with me last night.  But, again, there's this aggressive back and forth on this.  

Most seem to think, at least in the Republican Party, existing committees can look into that and investigate, no prosecutor necessary.  

Mark Warner, of course, the Virginia Democratic senator, plays a key role, of course, on the Intelligence Committee, with maybe a different view on that.

They say no need now for a prosecutor.  

SEN. MARK WARNER, D-VIRGINIA:  I would say, at this moment in time, let's let the intelligence community do its work.  

We have got folks out looking in raw intelligence right now.  And the more we can keep this bipartisan, get to the facts, follow the facts wherever they may lead -- and I have been disappointed that the White House has number trying to interfere in certain ways by calling on individuals to push back against the press.  

I have been glad to see people like Susan Collins and Marco Rubio say, no, we're going to follow the facts wherever they may lead.  

CAVUTO:  But neither of those two looked at the need for a prosecutor.  

WARNER:  Well, what they are -- what I believe is, if the information and the facts lead us there, I will be the first to call for that.  

But I think what the country needs right now is, they need a bipartisan effort to get this information out.  And I would think the administration, if nothing has actually happened, they'd actually want us to go ahead and do our work, do it quickly, do it efficiently, and then make our report.

CAVUTO:  Why can't you do it the way it's being done?  

WARNER:  Well, I believe, until I see evidence that we're not getting access to the appropriate information, I believe the Intelligence Committee is the right venue to conduct this investigation.  

But at any point that it appears that we're not getting access to the full set of information or that there's any influence, any additional influence to try to make this political in nature, then we got to look...

CAVUTO:  Well, they claim, as you know -- and you probably heard the president himself has tweeted as much, Senator -- that you're making political hay of this, that there's no there there.  

You say what?  

WARNER:  All I say is, we have had all four leaders of the intelligence community, the head of the FBI, the head of the NSA, the director of the national intelligence, the head of the CIA, all four say, both in public and in private, they have never seen this level of intervention by a foreign power, adversary...

CAVUTO:  Do you think it influenced the election results?  

WARNER:  We are never going to know.  I'm not here to try to relitigate...

CAVUTO:  But you see what they say, that, if you keep bringing this up, there's always going to be doubt, and you're seeding doubts about the president.  

WARNER:  Neil, when you have seen a thousand Russian Internet trolls trying to manipulate our news, when you see leaked information from the DNC and John Podesta's e-mails at critical times during the campaign, I think we have got to find out what happened, because they're also trying to do this right now in France, in Germany, in the Netherlands.  

And we also owe it to the American people, if there are contacts, inappropriate contacts in particular between Trump officials and the Russians before the election, we ought to hear.  We ought to know that.  

Now, I would think the administration would say, if there's nothing there, they'd say, have at it, guys.  We're going to give you all this information possible, because if there's a bipartisan investigation, and we find nothing, that's what we will say.  

But what I -- what concerns me is, instead, we see a president who is constantly praising of Putin.  We have a president...


CAVUTO:  But his defense secretary isn't.  

WARNER:  Well, listen, and I agree with Secretary Mattis.  

CAVUTO:  OK.  We shall see.  

Senator, thank you very, very much.  It's very good seeing you on a busy news day, Senator Mark Warner.


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