Top Intel Dem: 'We have to talk to Mr. Manafort'

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand On The Money: Fed chief warns of 'unthinkable' harm if debt ceiling breached | Powell basks in bipartisan praise amid Trump attacks | Federal deficit jumps to 7 billion Fed chief basks in bipartisan praise as lawmakers dismiss Trump attacks MORE (D-Va.) said the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to speak with President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to get answers related to the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

During an interview on CNN, Warner, the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked whether he believes Manafort's statement denying allegations of collusion with the Russians.

"This is why we have to have this investigation, why we have to talk to Mr. Manafort and a series of other individuals who have been affiliated with the Trump campaign," Warner said.

"In the case of Paul Manafort, he was the actual campaign manager. We're going to need to bring him in and have that kind of conversation."

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Warner said there's a "cloud" hanging over the Trump administration.

"Part of it is brought about by the president's own words in terms of accusing President Obama about taping him and wiretapping him, but we've got to get to the bottom of this," he said.

"And that's why I've said from the outset, this is probably the most important thing I've ever taken on in my public life."

Warner was further pressed about whether he wants Manafort to testify in front of his committee.

"Anyone who's been that affiliated with the Trump campaign as well as having so many supposed contacts with Russians, we need to talk to," Warner said.

He said Manafort and Trump ally and former adviser Roger Stone's names have been mentioned.

"There's a series of other individuals. We've put out a series of letters to make sure people preserve documents, and we're already starting to interview individuals," he said.

"We'll have a public hearing next week, and this investigation is — goes to the heart of our democracy. We know what Russia has done to interfere in the electoral process. Now we have to see what kind of combination or conversations took place between folks affiliated with the Trump campaign and the Russians."

In a statement Monday, Manafort denied any ties to or contact with the Russian government after the FBI confirmed it is investigating Trump allies' alleged links to Moscow. 

Manafort said he "had no involvement" in Russia's intervention in the 2016 presidential election and never spoke to Russian officials who claimed to be involved.

“The suggestion that I ever worked in concert with anyone to release hacked emails or sought to undermine the interests of the United States is false,” he said in a statement. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a hearing for March 30 on Russian interference in the election.