tv U.S. Senate Sen. Warner on Robert Mueller CSPAN December 21, 2017 7:51am-8:04am EST
>> i met joe mccarthy through my father who was something of the confidant to him, and he was a fellow well met. picky like to party. he liked a drink or two. and as long as you talk about communism you could ask for a more fun guy to be with. but usually serious about that. he was also someone who did not take advice very well. he consequently said things and even did things that hurt the cause of anti-communism for some time. >> q&a sunday night at eight eastern on c-span. >> senator mark warner vice chair of intelligence committee came to the senate floor to discuss the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 elections. he said special counsel robert mueller must be allowed to continue his investigation without interference from the white house.
this is ten minutes. >> mr. president, i rise today concerned about the threats to special counsels critical investigation of russian interference in the 2016 election. over the last several weeks a growing chorus of irresponsible and reckless voices have call for president trump to shut down special counsel mueller's investigation. at first these calls came from the fringes of a political discourse. those who would refuse to put our country and our security before-based political instincts. earlier this year many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were right to push back on these misdirected calls, and urge the special counsel be allowed to do his job without interference.
however, in recent weeks, those voices seem to be growing in stridency. just this weekend a young major news organizations suggested special counselor bob mueller to be involved in a coup against the president. one senior advisor at the white house has now outrageously alleged that the fix was in against donald trump from the beginning. are reckless.ts they are inappropriate, and they are extremely worrying. they are at odds with the president's own lawyers who had pledged to cooperate with the special counsel. beyond being a, responsible, the seemingly coordinated nature of these claims should alarm us all. particularly since in recent days these baseless accusations have been repeated by several
members of the house of representatives. i believe it is up to every member of this institution, republican or democrat, to make a clear and unambiguous statement, thaty any attempt by this president to remove special counselor mueller from his position or t to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power and a flagrant violation of executive branch responsibilities and authorities. these truly are red lines, and simply cannot allow them to be crossed. let's take a moment and remember why special counselor mueller was appointed in the first place. and why it remains c so critical that he be permitted to finish
his job without obstruction. recall last spring we were all reeling from the series of confounding actions by this president, beginning with a fight of fbi director jim comey on may 9. mr. comey was fired just two months after publicly revealing the fbi's ongoing investigation of the trump campaign, and as we would find out later, after several attempts bynt this president to improperly influence director comey. try to putac yourself back into those dangers of days. director comey's dismissal was met with confusion and widespread condemnation. we needed a stabilizing action from our nation's law enforcement leadership. we needed some certainty that the facts would be found and brought to light. regardless of what they were.
eight days after mr. comey's firing, trump appointee and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein appointedoi robert mueller to oversee the investigation into, quote, any coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of president donald trump. anna quote, any matters that arose or may arise directly on the investigation. his appointment reassured americans that the will be a full and thorough law enforcement investigation. the announcement was met with support on both sides of the aisle, and received nearly universal praise. in fact, many of the same people who are attacking him today praised mr. mueller's appointment just months ago. indeed, there is much to praise.
the fact is robert mueller has impeccable credentials as a man of the law. he has assembled a team that includes somebe of the nation's best investigators, and is leading the investigation with the professionalism it deserves. mr. mueller is a dedicated vietnam war veteran, and a lifelong republican. appointed to his current role by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, also republican. in fact, all of the major players to date inn this investigation, former director comey, current fbi director wray, rod rosenstein and even attorney general sessions was had to recuse himself are all republicans. the charges, the charges some have made that summer democratic political bias have crept into this investigation are baseless given the makeup of the leadership team.
in recent weeks much has been made of some political opinions expressed by an fbi agent during the election last year. this argumentco conveniently ignores the fact that as soon as mr. mueller learned about these comments, he immediately removed that agent in question from the investigation. if anything, this incident only adds to mr. mueller's credibility as a fair and independent investigator. mr. president, i stand here as the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee. we are in the midst of our own investigation into russian incursion, and i am proud of the way that chairman burr and our committee have taken on this very difficult task. we've made tremendous progress uncovering the facts of russian interference in our elections.
archimedes work helped expose the dark underbelly of disinformation -- our committees -- on many social media platforms. we've successfully pressed with a full accounting of russian cyber efforts to target our state electoral systems. and despite the initial denials of any russian contact during the election, this committees efforts have helped uncover numerous and troubling high-level engagements between the trump campaign and russian affiliates, many of which have only been revealed in recent months. we've got a lot of work to do yet. our committee has gone out of its way to ensure continued bipartisan backing for this effort. and i'm committed to seeing thet effort through. however, it should be c very clr that our committee cannot and will not stand as a substitute
for mr. mueller's investigation. as chairman burr and i've noted on many occasions, the fbi is responsible foror determining ay criminal activities related to this inquiry. as such, mohler has only moved to indict to individuals and has negotiated two additional guilty pleas. there is an investigative path, this is an investigative path reserved solelyfo for law enforcement and it is essential that it be permitted to go on unimpeded. the country no doubt remains severely divided on the question of the last election. however, the national security threat facing us today should demand that we rise above partisan differences. no matter the political divide, surely each of us and all americans should want to know the truth off what happened
during last year's election, and no doubt we all want to know that as quickly as possible. now, the president has long called investigation into the russian meddling into the 2016 election a witchhunt, and he's done much to discredit the intelligence communities unanimous assessment of russian interference in our election. the failure of this white house to lead a whole of government approach to prevent this type of election interference in the future either by the russians or some other adversary defy understanding the president refused except intelligence communities assessment and his blatant disregard for ensuring that russia never again infiltrates our election process has been unnerving, and calls for significant concern. in recent days the president said he is not considering
removing special counsel mueller. the presidents track record on thisf front is a source of concern. i'm certain most of my colleagues believe that he wouldn't fire jim comey either. firing mr. mueller, or any other of the top brass involved in this investigation, would not only called into question this administrations commitment to the truth, t but also into our most basic concept rule of law. it also has the potential to provoke a constitutional crisis. in the united states of america no one, no one is above the law. not even the president. congress must make clear to the president that firing the interfering with this investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses is unacceptable and
would have immediate and significant consequences. i hope my concerns are unfounded. in many ways i hope i would never have to make this kind of speech, but there are troubling signs. it is critical that all of us as elected officials, and as citizens, speak up against these threats now before it's too late. thank you, mr. president. with that i yield the floor and note the absence of a court. >> senator mark warner on the russian investigation yesterday on the senate floor. right now we'll go live to a conversation between senator warner and axios editor mike allen. >> the christmas music as well. welcome to c-span. thank c-span for being here. welcome to the c-span audience and welcome all of you. axios is here to make