Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) on Friday fired a shot across the bow of Republican efforts to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the President Donald Trump’s campaign in Russia, warning that recent attempts to reveal a sensitive FBI source might be “potentially illegal.”
House Republicans, led in part by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), have issued repeated requests for documents from the Justice Department pertaining to the beginning of the Russia investigation. Their efforts, many observers have noted, seem designed to undermine the investigation and Mueller’s credibility. And Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the most recent request for information on a particular source, who is a U.S. citizen, has spooked the FBI, forcing them to take steps to mitigate any dangers to the source if his or her identity is revealed.
“The first thing any new member of the Intelligence Committee learns is the critical importance of protecting sources and methods,” Warner said in a statement. “Public outing a source risks not only their life, but the lives of every American, because when sources are burned it makes it that much harder for every part of the intelligence community to gather intelligence on those who wish to do us harm.
He continued: “It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election.”
Though he does not directly state what law lawmakers may be breaking, Warner may be implying that Republican efforts could be seen as attempts to obstruct justice.
Warner is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has carried out its own investigation into Russian election interference. The Senate’s investigation has been more cooperative and bipartisan compared to the House’s investigation, which has been plagued by partisanship and many believe only serves to further the president’s narrative.