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Political Editors / February 9, 2018

Sen. Warner’s ‘Back Channel’ Is No Witch Hunt

Senate Intel Committee members quickly defend Warner’s attempt to contact Steele.

On Thursday, Fox News reported that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, had been communicating with Adam Waldman, a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch, who offered him access to the British ex-spy and author of the anti-Trump dossier Christopher Steele. The story points to a string of text messages between Warner and Waldman in which it appears that Warner seeks to have a private conversation with Steele before any official testimony would be given to the full committee.

Donald Trump responded to the story tweeting, “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.”

However, several Republican members on the committee quickly pushed back against the allegations and actually defended Warner. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “Sen. Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago. Has had zero impact on our work.” An aide to committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) noted that the senator was aware of Warner’s use of a “back channel” attempt to try to get to Steele, and he had no concerns about it.

In the end, this story appears to be more media hype than real news. Hey, it even got a tweet from Trump. While it’s no secret that Warner is no fan of Trump, assuming the worst of the senator without applying or seeking context is why much of the mainstream media’s reporting on Trump has been so biased and many times downright false. What makes this story a story is the MSM treatment of the whole Russiagate scandal. When mere accusations and innuendos are appealed to as facts, the result is fake news.

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