Warner says Senate Russia report will be 'more extensive' than Mueller on interference efforts

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday that his panel’s final report will be “much more extensive” than special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE’s in detailing Russian efforts to contact President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE’s campaign and meddle in U.S. elections.

“Ninety to 95 percent of what Mueller had determined in terms of the contacts, the efforts of the Russians to interfere in our election — we had that information and we will have other areas that will frankly be much more extensive than what Mueller had and much more descriptive about the organized, ongoing effort,” Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators offer bipartisan bill to help US firms remove Huawei equipment from networks DOJ plans to show Senate Intel less-redacted Mueller report, filing shows Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats MORE (D-Va.) told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday morning.


Warner spoke to reporters one day after news broke that the committee had served a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, in connection with its 2016 investigation. Trump Jr. had previously interviewed voluntarily with the committee behind closed doors in December 2017. 

Warner declined repeatedly to comment on the subpoena on Thursday, but noted the panel has reserved the right to call back witnesses to answer additional questions or address “inconsistencies.”

“I’m not going to comment on specific witnesses,” Warner said when asked if he was confident Trump Jr. had told the truth to the committee. “I will say that we have seen literally hundreds and hundreds of witnesses and the committee has been very clear with every one that we reserve the right to bring witnesses back if we have additional questions or there’s inconsistencies.”

Warner added that he had been “pleased” that many witnesses agreed to return to answer more questions, including some of the president’s family members. Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerJudge delivers second blow to Trump over financial records Tillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee Trump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul MORE was recently spotted returning to speak with the committee. 

Warner said that some material may ultimately be redacted from the panel’s final Russia investigation report, which will need to go through an intelligence community review.

“My hope is we’re able to tell the whole story of the Russian network, the connections and the extensive efforts,” Warner said. “Some of those things the intelligence community may want to redact, and that’s a legitimate question.”

Led by Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDOJ plans to show Senate Intel less-redacted Mueller report, filing shows Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon MORE (R-N.C.), the Senate Intelligence Committee has been running its own probe into Russian interference since January 2017. Burr and Warner have gone to great lengths to preserve the bipartisanship of the investigation and have largely been successful, though the question of whether members of the Trump campaign “colluded” with the Kremlin has threatened to divide Republicans and Democrats. 

Mueller concluded his investigation in late March and did not charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with the Russian government. His sprawling 448-page report, which Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Justin Amash confirms collusion witch hunt was all about politics MORE released in redacted form last month, details efforts by Russians and Russia-linked individuals to reach out to the Trump campaign and shows a willingness by some Trump associates to accept help from them.

Warner said Thursday that going forward, political campaigns should be legally required to report any outreach from a foreign power to U.S. law enforcement.

“All that kind of activity, Mueller may have concluded may not be illegal, but it’s wrong,” Warner said. “Any legitimate campaign should have known that when you’re contacted by a foreign agent, particularly from a power that has historically been an adversarial power, there ought to be an affirmative obligation to report that to the FBI.”

Warner later said it “should have been” illegal for the Trump campaign not to report the Russian outreach to the FBI.

“There ought to be an affirmative obligation to report it to law enforcement,” he said.

Warner said the committee is looking to speak to Mueller and review his report’s underlying counterintelligence information before concluding its probe. Burr has projected it will wrap up in the coming months, though the committee still needs to interview more witnesses and write its final report.

Warner said Mueller’s report raised questions for him, noting that the dossier containing salacious and unverified allegations about Trump and Russia was barely mentioned.

“I got the same question — why didn’t Mueller finish?” Warner said. “The controversy around the Steele dossier — it was glancingly mentioned at best.”