Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Thursday night quickly dismissed a Fox News report revealing Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner’s (D-VA) efforts to contact the author of the so-called Trump dossier last year.
Warner exchanged text messages with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch last year in an attempt to reach Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled information on President Donald Trump, Fox News reported Thursday.
Rubio revealed that Warner had already informed the committee of the contacts and indicated it was not a big deal to the rest of the committee.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 9, 2018
Warner and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) also issued a joint statement slamming “leaks” taken “out of context” in response to the Fox News story. They said that they have conducted their entire investigation in a bipartisan manner and that the entire committee has been aware of Warner’s text messages for a while.
“From the beginning of our investigation, we have taken each step in a bipartisan way, and we intend to continue to do so. Leaks of incomplete information out of context by anyone, inside or outside our committee, are unacceptable,” Burr and Warner said in the statement. “The Senate Intelligence Committee has been in possession of this material for several months. The full committee has had access to the material and been brief on its content, and committee investigators have pursued all relevant investigative leads related to this material.”
Senate Republicans’ shrug did not stop President Donald Trump from latching onto the Fox News story. Trump sent a tweet two hours later saying that Warner got “caught” sending the text messages and suggested the Russia probe was connected to Hillary Clinton.
Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a “paper trail” on a “private” meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2018