UPDATE by Lowell 3:39 pm: I just received the following on-the-record statement from Sen. Warner’s Press Secretary, Rachel Cohen. “Senator Warner has NEVER EVER said there should be a cooling-off period. Publicly or privately. It was Senator Warner who took to the Senate floor in December to make clear that firing Mueller or ‘any of the top brass involved in this investigation” would cause a constitutional crisis. He still believes that, and he thinks we need to be prepared to act immediately if that happens.'”
by Adam Siegel
There are news reports, based on anonymous sources, that Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is privately calling for a cooling off period if Trump fires the Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
Senator Warner’s communications staff categorically rejected that reporting.
warner has NEVER said there should be a "cooling off period" and that is not what he believes.
— rcohen (@rcohen) April 13, 2018
Senator Warner has, in the past year, made some strong statements related to the need for maintaining an independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election (and continued) including in this item that Rachel Cohen tweeted out less than an hour ago:
It was @MarkWarner who said on the Senate floor in December that firing Mueller or "any of the top brass involved in this investigation" would cause a constitutional crisis. He still believes that & is prepared to act accordingly. https://t.co/tp4DH42RYf
— rcohen (@rcohen) April 13, 2018
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, told a group of Democratic colleagues on Wednesday that they should adhere to a one- or two-day cooling-off period if Trump fires Rosenstein, according to three congressional sources. […]
Note that, while unnamed, the Journal is claiming “three Congressional sources” which indicates that they didn’t run casually with the article. The article asserted that Warner advocated something along these lines:
“The first 24 to 48 hours, if and when that happens, we should stay calm; we should do our best to reach out across the aisle and talk to our colleagues and say, ‘Seriously, we cannot allow this to happen.’ Just don’t go immediately to DEFCON-1,” said a member of Congress who attended the meeting but asked for anonymity to discuss it candidly. “We should not say anything—let the dust settle for a minute. What I took from it is it’s better to build a coalition across the aisle than just to come out guns a-blazing saying, ‘We’ve got to impeach him now.’”
Those concerned about Donald Trump’s threat to American Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Republic are reacting with dismay over the reported comments and perspective of Senator Warner.
Mark, Mark, Mark. If Donald Trump fires Rod Rosenstein and Republicans don’t push back immediately on their own, that will tell you all you need to know. But if you want to be generous, build a phone tree and give it an hour of reaching out seeking Republicans to bipartisanly condemn a Saturday Night Massacre-style action. And then, when most of them offer up excuses and delays and rationalizations, move forward and hammer the hell out of Trump and the Republicans who give him free rein. And no, the choice is not between calling for immediate impeachment and going to ground in silence:
While it is good that Rachel Cohen so quickly stepped up to make clear that the Journal article doesn’t accurately reflect the Senator’s views and words, a tweet in response to a minor blogger likely is not enough of a message to provide a shot across the bow.
Consider the week’s news, the GOP’s “lyin’ Comey” propaganda, news that Trump is calling people to cajole them to call publicly for Trump to fire Rosenstein, reports of Trump’s unhinged nature after Monday’s raid on Cohen, and …, there is a clear basis for seeing value for Senator Mark Warner to engage directly with the press to make a clear, unequivocal statement that firing Rosenstein will be a “Red Line” and that Warner will be at the front of the vanguard taking action in the face of any such action to so fundamentally threatened the nation’s rule of law.