Top Intel Dem warns Republicans: Don't try to out FBI source

Top Intel Dem warns Republicans: Don't try to out FBI source
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Trump pushes to speed up 5G rollout | Judge hits Roger Stone with full gag order | Google ends forced arbitration | Advertisers leave YouTube after report on pedophile ring Warner questions health care groups on cybersecurity Cohen to testify before Senate Intel on Tuesday MORE (D-Va.) warned Republican lawmakers on Friday not to expose the identity of a secret FBI informant, saying that to do so would be "irresponsible" — and potentially illegal.

"It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election," Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. 

"Anyone who is entrusted with our nation’s highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves," he added. 

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Warner's comments come as some GOP lawmakers and allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE seize on reports of an embedded FBI informant who fed investigators information about possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Some congressional Republicans have raised concerns that the FBI may have planted a mole within the Trump campaign in order to spy on the then-candidate and his team in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Even Trump suggested on Thursday that the Obama administration had intentionally planted the informant in his presidential campaign, claiming that the matter could end up being "bigger than Watergate."

The New York Times reported last week that a top-secret FBI informant had met with two former Trump campaign advisers, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosWhite House braces for Mueller report Justice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills MORE and Carter Page.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that allies of the president had begun waging a campaign to expose the role of the informant. In response, the FBI has been working to soften the blow if the source's identity is outed