Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat: Trump has ‘parroted’ Vladimir Putin
Sen. Mark Warner said Sunday that President Trump has “parroted” Russian policies in the first two years of his presidency.
His comments come after The New York Times reported that intelligence officials opened an investigation into the president after he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, looking into whether Mr. Trump was working on behalf of Russian interests and obstructing justice.
In addition, The Washington Post reported that the president has prevented other administration officials from being privy to his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He never spoke ill about Russia,” Mr. Warner, Virginia Democrat, told CNN.
“It’s curious that throughout that whole summer, when these investigations started, you had Vladimir Putin policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump,” he added.
Mr. Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said committee members have interviewed hundreds of witnesses in their probe of Russian collusion in the 2016 election and have an “interesting story” to tell once the investigation is concluded.
The White House dismissed the reports about the FBI investigating the president, saying he has been tough on Russia by imposing strict sanctions. On Saturday, Mr. Trump told Fox News that reports saying he possibly was working on behalf of Russia were insulting.
But Mr. Warner said Congress imposed the tough sanctions on Mr. Putin not the president.
“The sanctions that were passed by Congress, they passed by such an overwhelming amount Trump didn’t have the power to veto it,” Mr. Warner said.
He also said other media reports earlier last week that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort gave polling data to a Russian agent are curious, suggesting that data were later used to push certain efforts on social media and suppress the black vote.
“Why would you turn over that information?” the senator said. “It would be that kind of information that would inform the Russians later in the campaign when they launched their social media efforts.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, told CNN that Mr. Warner was dealing in innuendo. Mr. Johnson said he’s anxious to hear what special counsel Robert Mueller finds once his report is issued.
“I don’t want to deal in speculation. I want to deal in facts,” Mr. Johnson said.
He suggested that the president may not have made certain officials privy to his talks with Mr. Putin due to previous leaks in his administration.
“He was burned by leaks in other areas, and he was pretty frustrated by it so that might be one explanation,” Mr. Johnson said.