‘There’s no one that could factually say there’s not plenty of evidence of collaboration … between the Trump Organization and the Russians…’
Warner suggested during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had opened a door for Congress to further its investigations into alleged collusion between Trump and Russia.
Cohen testified before Congress last week and said he had no knowledge of collusion.
“There’s lots of evidence,” Warner said. “The question is, what kind of conclusion we’re going to reach.”
Warner said one lead that emerged from of Cohen’s testimony related to the timing of a construction project in Moscow.
“The whole notion of trying to get a Trump Tower project going in Moscow—and I point out the fact, Donald Trump had been trying to build a project in Moscow for over a decade—suddenly, he becomes a candidate for president and he’s got a very lucrative deal on the table,” Warner said. “I want to find out why.”
Warner, himself, drew criticism in February 2018 when Fox News revealed that he had secretly traded text-messages with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch in an attempt to contact Christopher Steele, the author of a debunked anti-Trump opposition research report.
Cohen is due to serve three years in prison for an array of felonies, including lying to Congress when he said under oath that Trump had stopped negotiations on the Moscow deal prior to launching his campaign. He testified last week that Trump never instructed him to lie but had signaled as much in his tone and body language.
But Warner said he was willing to overlook Cohen’s credibility issues since the president, he claimed, also lied.
“Let me be first to acknowledge, Mr. Cohen doesn’t have a great record of veracity,” Warner said. “Matter of fact, he is going to jail, partially because of lies he made to the Senate Intelligence Committee, although the president doesn’t have a good record in telling the truth as well.”
Cohen is expected to hand over additional documents to Congress from his time working as Trump’s personal attorney. Warner said these documents could provide the smoking gun Democrats have been looking for in their bid to establish collusion between Trump and Russia.
“What I do know is that Mr. Cohen is supposed to be turning over additional records that we’ve been looking for, for some time. And that’s a fair question to ask once we get a chance to look at those records,” Warner said.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose nearly two year investigation is expected to wrap up, possibly this week, has long been trumpeted by Democrats as the source of Trump’s downfall. However, Democrats in Congress already are hedging their bets in case Mueller’s revelations amount to a nothingburger.
Warner downplayed the report’s significance, saying there is already enough evidence to condemn Trump—or at least to justify extending the incessant investigations.
“Where that evidence leads, in terms of a conclusion … I’m going to reserve judgment until I’m finished,” Warner said. “There’s no one that could factually say there’s not plenty of evidence of collaboration or communications between the Trump Organization and the Russians.