Warner says he believes Republicans would 'like to have known' Trump was dealing with Russia in 2016

Warner says he believes Republicans would 'like to have known' Trump was dealing with Russia in 2016
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation The Year Ahead: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — NRCC exposes security flaws 2 years after Russia hacks | Google Plus to shut down early | Scathing House report scolds Equifax for breach | McCarthy knocks Google ahead of CEO's hearing MORE (D-Va.) said Sunday that he believes Republicans "would like to have known" that President TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE was trying to do business with the Russians when he was the party's presumptive presidential nominee in 2016.

"I gotta believe that most Republicans who were about to nominate Donald Trump in the summer of 16 would probably have thought it was a relevant fact — they would like to have known — that then-candidate Trump was still trying to do with business with Russia," Warner said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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The senator's comments came after Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last week to lying to Congress about the negotiations between the Trump Organization and Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Those negotiations continued until at least June of 2016, when Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Trump last week defended the negotiations, writing in a tweet that they were "very legal & very cool."

Warner on Sunday also said that he would "reserve judgment" over whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in 2016, but added that it's "pretty clear" that the Russians were working with Trump campaign officials.

"It’s pretty clear that the Russians, not only did they hack into the emails and not only had they stolen other information, but they were very forward leaning in terms of offering this information to the Trump campaign and it appears that a number of senior Trump  officials or Trump campaign officials continue to lie about those kind of contacts," Warner said.