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Warner challenges Republicans pushing for less focus on Trump and more on Russia

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) challenged Republican senators calling for the committee to focus less on President Trump and more on Russian threats, arguing that the president’s “unprecedented” move firing the FBI director “superseded some of our activities.”

Then-FBI Director James B. Comey “was leading this very same Russia investigation,” Warner pointed out to critics of the focus on his firing, adding that there was a “very troubling amount of smoke, at least, that’s out there between individuals that were affiliated with the Trump campaign.”

Warner urged Jeff Sessions to turn over to the committee any documents and information about Justice Department procedures that Sessions could share, noting they could help “shed some light” on “some of the contradictions between today and last week.” He was referring to Comey’s alternative take on the substance and propriety of several interactions with Trump and Sessions.

“I do want to say that a change at the top of the FBI should have no impact whatsoever on an investigation,” Warner added, noting that his request was “not about re-litigating 2016, it’s about finding out what happened.”

Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, will face his former colleagues this afternoon in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is expected to face questions on contacts with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, and his role in the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director.