Sen. Mark Warner said he’d never seen “this much outreach to a foreign country“ as there was on the Trump 2016 campaign. | AP Photo/Alex Brandon
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday lawmakers have found “enormous amounts of evidence” into potential collusion between the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russians during the 2016 election.
Mark Warner of Virginia made his remarks in response to an assertion that there is “no factual evidence of collusion” from the Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Story Continued Below
As evidence, Warner cited on NBC’s “Meet the Press” ongoing negotiations about Trump Tower and the dump of WikiLeaks material.
“Where that evidence leads, in terms of a conclusion … I’m going to reserve judgment, until I’m finished,” Warner said.
But he added: “There’s no one that could factually say there’s not plenty of evidence of collaboration or communications between Trump Organization and Russians.”
Warner’s House Intelligence Committee counterpart, Adam Schiff, said Sunday on CBS‘ “Face the Nation” that there’s both “direct evidence” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of collusion with Russia.
The California Democrat said “there is direct evidence” in emails from the Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton in what is described as the “Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump.”
“They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts in furtherance of that,” Schiff said. “That is the meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up that meeting at the Trump Tower, and apparently lies that the president participated in.”
Asked Sunday by NBC host Chuck Todd whether a Russia conspiracy without any actual evidence of a crime being committed could lead to impeachment of the president, Warner again said he would wait to reach his conclusion but qualified his statement by looking at history.
“I have never, in my lifetime, seen a presidential campaign, from a person of either party, have this much outreach to a foreign country and a foreign country that the intelligence community, and our committee has validated, intervened, massively, in our election and intervened with an attempt to help one candidate, Donald Trump, and to hurt another candidate, Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Warner also said that some of the “key people” the Senate committee wants to talk to are “caught up” in the Mueller criminal investigations.
“Those criminal investigations need to conclude, before we get a chance to talk to them,” he said.
For his part, Trump has continued to call any and all suggestions of collusion to be part of a witch hunt against him. On Sunday, he tweeted: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start.
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