Sen. Warner: Intel Committee Has Referred 'A Number' of People to Special Counsel for Possibly Lying to Congress

By Susan Jones | December 3, 2018 | 10:21am EST
Sens. Mark Warner (left) and Richard Burr are the ranking member and chairman, respectively, of the Senate intelligence committee. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the intelligence committee, noted on Sunday that lying to Congress is a crime, and he said the committee has referred "a number" of people to the special counsel, apparently because they are suspected of lying in their testimony.

Warner, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," was asked about Michael Cohen's admission last week that he lied to Congress about some aspects of the Trump organization's business dealings in Russia. Cohen now says discussions about building a possible Trump Tower in Moscow were ongoing well into Trump's presidential campaign.

"If you lie to Congress, we're going to go after you. We're going to make sure that it gets referred. And we've made a number of referrals," Warner said.

Later, following up, host Margaret Brennan asked Warner, "When you say you've made a number of referrals, are you saying you've said to the special counsel a number of Trump associates are lying and we have proof of it?"

"Again, I'm not going to go into which individuals have been referred," Warner said.

Brennan asked him, "What were they referred for?"

"Well, if we've seen something that we feel it would be appropriate to go to the special prosecutor, as Chairman Burr mentioned, we'll make those referrals. And we want to make clear that lying to Congress is a crime," Warner said.

But in the case of Michael Cohen, the special counsel reportedly came to the intelligence committee seeking a transcript of Cohen's testimony.

Brennan asked Warner if that was true. He didn't deny it:

"We have an ongoing relationship with the special counsel," Warner replied. "We have, as you said, two different approaches. The special prosecutor is a criminal investigation. We are a counter-intelligence investigation. And we've concluded, obviously, that Russia intervened massively, and we need to preclude that from happening again.

"We're also looking into the question of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians," Warner said. "I believe there is clear evidence that the Russians were offering information about Hillary Clinton. We know that. That's been documented in a number of these meetings.

"The question about whether there was full collusion, that is something both Chairman Burr and I are reserving judgment until we see all of the witnesses. And we've got more folks to see."

Warner is among the Democrats who believe that cadidate Donald Trummp was reluctant to say anything negiative about Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign because he had a possible real estate deal pending in Moscow until the summer of 2016. The deal never happened.

Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, who handled the Moscow hotel project, now says he lied when he told the Senate that discussions involving the Moscow hotel deal ended in January 2016. He also admits to briefing members of the Trump organization more often than he told Congress.

"Donald Trump, as a candidate, said no dealings with Russia," Warner said. "I think if I had been a Republican -- Republican delegate going into the summer of 2016, I think it would have been a relevant fact to know that actually Donald Trump was still trying to do business with the Russian government. Maybe that's why he was so reluctant to say anything bad about Vladimir Putin.

"What we also know at this point is not only were this ongoing business deal, but you had the president's son and his son-in-law meeting with Russians. We had the president's campaign aides being aware that there were the Hillary Clinton e-mail. We had the president's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, offering to brief Russian agents. There seems to be all of these paths lead to ties with Russia and Mr. Trump continues to deny any of that."

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