President Donald Trump would be on "shaky legal ground" if he tried to use executive privilege to prevent former FBI Director James Comey from testifying to Congress about connections between Russia and the Trump campaign during the presidential elections, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
Warner said it would be "totally inappropriate" for Trump to take this action, and "I think he would be on shaky legal ground, to say the least."
The Virginia senator explained his reasoning by saying that "Director Comey was fired by the president. And you have the president himself making derogatory comments, in effect, at least reported to the press, calling Comey a nutjob."
Warner added that "it would be very, very troubling if the president of the United States is interfering in investigations that affect potentially the president and his closest associates" and "absolutely unthinkable if the president of the United States asked the FBI director to basically back off an investigation that was directed at some of the affiliates of Mr. Trump."
He said that "going back to Watergate, there's a series of rules that have kind of emerged out of Washington, one, that a president shouldn't ask about an ongoing investigation, particularly shouldn't ask if that investigation is connected to affiliates of the president."
Warner, who is the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also commented on the latest terrorist attack in London, saying "there's no specific threat against the United States, but, obviously, we have seen our strongest ally, Britain, now hit three times.
"Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to them. But I think what you're seeing in Britain is a resoluteness, but also a recognition that, as the British went through three decades of IRA-related terrorism, they will carry on. And I think, in many ways, that's what we need to do here in our country as well."
When asked about British Prime Minister Theresa May's comments that there is too much tolerance for extremism in the U.K., Warner said that it is "a challenge in modern society to maintain free societies and freedom of speech, but still recognize that we have to be on guard against some the hateful venom that is oftentimes spewed over the Internet."
Explaining that his background was in the technology business before he went into politics, the senator said society has "to re-examine these platform companies that, for years, have said they have no responsibility to curate the information that flows across their platforms.
"They have started to change… But this is going to require, I think, a much broader conversation than we've had to date."
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