Transcript: Sen. Mark Warner on "Face the Nation," June 4, 2017

Seven people were killed and dozens were injured in a terror attack that unfolded Saturday night in London. The suspects were shot and killed by police. 

In the wake of the attack, "Face the Nation" sat down with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He discussed the attack -- and more, including former FBI Director James Comey's upcoming testimony before the committee. 

What follows is a full transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday June 4, 2017 on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: We turn now to the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, Virginia Senator Mark Warner. Senator, you've been briefed. What do you know about this attack?

MARK WARNER: Well, first of all, John, let's express our condolences to the British people. They are our strongest allies, and clearly the London police force responded appropriately. Eight minutes after the incident started, the terrorists were taken down. And I also want to emphasize as well that as your report just made, that the information sharing between the British and the Americans is still top notch and going forward.

I think there's not much more that the NCTC knows than what has been publicly reported. There is no imminent threat in the United States. But I think the very question as was this terrorist-directed or terrorist-inspired, the British will continue to investigate.

I think it is really important, though, and one of the things that concerns me about the president's tweets this morning, where he in effect is calling for a Muslim travel ban again, even though the courts have continued to turn that down, if the president wanted 90 days to re-examine how individuals from certain countries would enter the United States, he's had more than 90 days.

If there's new procedures put in place, put those procedures in place. Don't continue to call for this travel ban, which is frankly all of the leaders in the intelligence community have said would be in effect, a slap in the face to Muslim Americans and others, and in many ways, might actually incite more incidents.

JOHN DICKERSON: Very quickly here, Theresa May said-- she talked about technology. You were once a technology executive. She talked about internet service providers and how there needed to be some way to regulate cyberspace, to keep this ideology from having a place to grow. What's your thought about that?

MARK WARNER: Well, I think we do have to reexamine the roles of all of these platform companies, the Facebook, the Twitters, the Googles, and recognize there may need to be some responsibility to curate information. I was out on the west coast last week, met with some of those companies.

I think they understand that. They first started some regulation around child pornography. They've now started to regulate some content around terrorism threats. I was out there raising questions around fake news and how that can affect the democratic process.

Facebook, for example, said they took down 30,000 fake sites before the French elections. But I think this is a discussion that we need to have. Because obviously there's value in the internet, we want to continue to have these connections. But there's also, we're seeing the dark side.

JOHN DICKERSON: You have two hearings this week. There's James Comey, who's testifying on Thursday. But before, you have a hearing on Wednesday. What's important about that hearing?

MARK WARNER: Well, we're going to have a Wednesday hearing, ODNI Director Coats and NSA head Admiral Rogers. The press has reported that both of those individuals had some level of pressure from the president to downplay the Russian investigation. I want to ask those individuals directly, did they have that kind of pressure? Can they report on those conversations they had with the president? Because it would be very concerning.

And then obviously Thursday, we have former F.B.I. Director Comey. And I think we've known since Watergate that rules of the road were, you know, a president shouldn't intervene in an ongoing investigation, particularly the case if it involves individuals that are close to that president. And it would be unthinkable if the president actually did what was reported, asked F.B.I. Director Comey to in effect, back off of at least the investigation into General Flynn.

JOHN DICKERSON: And is Comey going to be able to testify? There's been some talk at the White House--

MARK WARNER: There's been some talk. But my hope is, and I believe this morning the White House has backed off from some call it executive privilege since clearly the president himself has commented about this. And, you know, frankly, no matter what you thought about Jim Comey, the fact that the president disparaged him with comments in front of the Russians is just unacceptable.

JOHN DICKERSON: So you expect James Comey to give a sense of why he felt that pressure? He won't be bringing his memos, though, that he wrote, though. Why can't you get a chance--

MARK WARNER: Well, we want to get a look at those memos as well. I believe former F.B.I. Director Muller, who is now leading the investigation, he'll have to agree whether Comey can look at those memos, or whether we can look at those memos. Ultimately, I think we will get a chance to look at them, and I think it's very important.

JOHN DICKERSON:  Is there a key question you want Comey to answer?

MARK WARNER: I want him to reinforce one, the fact that the Russians directly intervened in our elections, which everybody accepts except for the president and maybe Vladimir Putin. And two, I want to know what kind of pressure, appropriate or inappropriate, how many conversations he had with the president about this topic. Did some of these conversations take place even before the president was sworn in? And I think Jim Comey deserves to have his, you know, in effect, day in court since the president has disparaged him so much.

JOHN DICKERSON: You also said that the Treasury Department has not complied fully with the committee document request. Where does that stand?

MARK WARNER: We're still sorting through, we're getting more cooperation. We're trying to follow some of the financial ties. There have been some evidence--

JOHN DICKERSON: Ties to Russia?

MARK WARNER: Ties to Russia between some of the associates of Mr. Trump, some of the payments. We just want to follow that to ground, whether with General Flynn or Mr. Manafort. And I think it's important that we have that information. The one thing about this committee, and I know you're going to have Susan Collins on later in the program, I'm very proud of the committee that we have stayed bipartisan. And we're going to follow the facts. And every one of us, Democrat and Republican, realize this is one of the most important things we'll ever do. And wherever the facts lead, we're going to follow them.

JOHN DICKERSON: Will you be asking the Treasury for any information about President Trump's ties to Russia--

MARK WARNER: I think if--

JOHN DICKERSON:--in terms of financial ties?

MARK WARNER: --if there are inappropriate indications of financial ties, we would look at those. We have not seen those to date. There's a lot of smoke. We have no smoking gun, but every week there's more smoke that appears. And we've got to sort through it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Give me a sense of that larger smoke question. There is still no proof of collusion. So where really are we on the question of smoke versus fire?

MARK WARNER: Well, we have a number of contacts that took place between individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign and the Russians prior to the elections. And there are still some of those contacts that I don't think have been fully revealed.

Then we have a series of contacts that took place between the election and the president's inaugural. Some of those were contacts that obviously didn't get disclosed originally, cost General Flynn his job, cost the Attorney General. He had to recuse himself from the investigation, because these individuals didn't fully disclose. We have a series of contacts as well between Mr. Kushner that some may have taken place before the elections but obviously others after the election.

Then we have the series of events that took place since the president's been sworn in, where clearly Comey and potentially Rogers, Coats, and maybe others, have been attempted to been influenced by the president. So as each week goes along and more stories break, what I think the president deserves and the American public deserves is to go past reported press stories and actually hit facts.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, final, very quickly, anything off-limits with Comey on the questions?

MARK WARNER: I think he's going to have a chance to tell his story, and I know every member's going to have a number of questions for him.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator Warner, well, thank you so much for talking with us--

MARK WARNER: Thank you, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: And we'll be back in a minute.