Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said on Sunday that a congressional briefing to get a damage assessment of the classified documents potentially mishandled by former President Trump is on hold since a judge allowed a special master to review what was seized.
“My understanding is there is some question because of the special master appointment by the judge in Florida whether they can brief at this point,” Warner told CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan. “We need clarification on that from that judge as quickly as possible because it is essential that the intelligence community, leadership at least, get a briefing of the damage assessment.”
Warner, along with the committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have requested more information on the classified documents obtained during an FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in August, seeking both the documents seized and an assessment of any national security threats posed by potential mishandling of the information.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request last week to appoint an independent special master to review materials seized by the FBI after he raised concerns that some of the information obtained as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president was protected under attorney-client and executive privileges.
Warner said the congressional request in no way sought to hinder the DOJ’s ongoing investigation and sidestepped questions by Brennan about information shared with Congress being more likely to leak to the public.
“I believe that it’s our congressional duty to have that oversight,” Warner said. “Remember what’s at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence and that information got out, people will die,” noting that years of work could be “destroyed.”
Warner said the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he called the “last functioning bipartisan committee, I believe, in the whole Congress” had an obligation to review any potential security dangers to the country and its intelligence gathering capabilities.
“I do want the damage assessment of what would happen to our ability to protect the nation,” Warner said, adding that the request by the intelligence leaders sought to “assess whether there’s been damage done to our intelligence collection and maintenance of secrets capacity.”
Updated 11:32 a.m.