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Video: Sen. Mark Warner Says The “Harshness” and Substance of What Alito Wrote Has Him “Gravely Worried”; Adds, “I think Americans overwhelmingly want abortion to be safe, legal and rare”

Sen. Warner says DHS "Disinformation Board" rollout was "botched," but to not have "appropriate oversight of these [violent extremist] groups" is "not a safe path for America."

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See below for video and highlights from Sen. Mark Warner’s “press availability” earlier today. Sen. Warner covered a LOT of ground and had a lot of interesting things to say, so check it out!

  • “I think we were all more than a little bit thrown for a loop by the leaking of what appears to be the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade.
  • “Clearly, leaking a Supreme Court decision before it is official is wrong and I think it is appropriate that the Court should investigate and bring to justice whoever did this unprecedented leak. But I find it a little strange that so many of my colleagues here are not talking about the huge substance of what this decision implies...Some of the Justices basically said under oath during their hearings that they would respect legal precedents…”
  • “What we’re really talking about here is taking away a basic right that women and Americans have enjoyed in this country for over 50 years. I think this will set a dangerous precedent. I think the full ramifications of the Alito decision, the harshness of that tone…is pretty stunning to me – the idea that a 13 year old young woman could be a victim of a rape and she would have no ability…to have any choice about what happens going forward…The idea that the Supreme Court would roll back these rights even in the case of rape and incest is…not where Virginians are or Americans are. I think Americans overwhelmingly want abortion to be safe, legal and rare. And I think this Supreme Court decision will take away all of those…it will simply drive abortions into the dark alleys of what was the status quo in the 50s and 60s.”
  • “I think elections matter…I urge people to get out, if this is an issue of concern, and vote this fall.”
  • “My fear is by the Supreme Court jumping feet first into these culture wars that this woman’s right to choose may just be the first step. Is the next step going to be rolling back any kind of rights women have to obtain contraceptive devices? Does it mean that gay rights or marriage equality will be the next battleground?In our country, I think we’ve generally been about expanding rights not constricting rights…If this ends up becoming the final decision, I think it has huge ramifications…”
  • On the COMPETE Act, Sen. Warner said “I don’t want our country to be dependent on a supply chain from China in terms of semiconductors; we’ve got to get this legislation resolved.”
  • On Ukraine, Sen. Warner said the U.S. government and its allies are “really stepping up and now getting the flow of arms to the Ukrainians in a rapid response, so we’re seeing Ukrainian forces, particularly in the east, stand up to Russian aggression…I do fear that we’re into this war of attrition…it appears now that this will grind on beyond May 9th...We need to get this next $33 billion in assistance to Ukraine as quickly as possible.”
  • Responding to a reporter’s question on whether the country is heading towards a theocratic form of government, Sen. Warner said he’s “not accepting [the] characterization of these activities, but I am worried…you hear from my Republican friends like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski…[the Supreme Court] has always been viewed as kind of beyond politics…both political parties to a degree have tried to overly politicize their judicial nominees, although frankly new ground was broken when Leader McConnell basically didn’t allow President Obama to even nominate a judge or get a hearing; I think that undermines confidence in the Court. And I am worried when potential Supreme Court Justices come before the Senate, and in their effort to try to get the job, get the votes to be confirmed, they say well we’re going to stand by judicial precedent, and this has been a precedent that has lasted for longer than 50 years…the tone and tenor of the Alito decision…is feet first into the culture wars…It’s got me gravely worried.”
  • It’s “a little bit like crocodile tears from some of my Republican colleagues who are spending all of their time bemoaning the leak. And listen, I’m against the leak, whoever did this is wrong…and there needs to be consequences. But the fact they’re not addressing the tone and tenor of this Alito decision that would yank back what has been legal precedent for more than 50 years…I’d like to hear my colleagues address THAT issue…a dramatic rollback of women’s and frankly Americans’ rights...That notion of America always moving forward I think is grossly under assault in this decision, should it stand.”
  • “I understand why Sen. Collins and Sen. Murkowski feel a bit betrayed. Somebody applying for a job, in the job interview tells you they’re going to do one thing, and then the first chance they get they do the exact opposite…I’m not sure there are the votes to change the filibuster on this issue.”
  • “I’m old enough to remember the election in 1989, when Doug Wilder was running for governor, and early on he was neck and neck or even a bit behind, and there was a Supreme Court decision that looked like it might not invalidate Roe v Wade but cut back on those rights, and in many ways getting those suburban voters – mostly women – out to vote, it became a very motivating factor in 1989 in Doug Wilder’s historic election as governor...I think the tone of this Alito decision and the breadth of it…shocked a lot of people…whether that will be the motivating factor…180 days from now, I hope so, but we also live in a time when people’s attention span on any issue seems to be fairly brief.”
  • “We may be seeing about this time the peak of inflation and we may start to see it recede…But clearly inflation is still going to have a big effect on how people vote in the fall as well.”
  • On the suicides and deaths on the USS George Washington, Sen. Warner said “this is a crisis,” a “human tragedy,” and we need an investigation as to what’s going on, also figure out what we can to do to stop these tragedies from happening again.
  • “If viewers feel they don’t like this direction of the Supreme Court, the only place they can work to ensure change that a woman’s right to choose for example is protected is to change the composition of the Congress and make sure that the composition of the legislature in Virginia protects those rights.
  • On the DHS “Disinformation Board,” Sen. Warner said he hasn’t spoken yet to Secretary Mayorkis, but clearly the “rollout of this entity was bungled.” Sen. Warner added that DHS *can* look at situations when “groups like Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and others, oftentimes even in concert or at least in communication with right-wing, often white nationalist paramilitary groups in Europe, that IS appropriate oversight and overview.” Sen. Warner added that today, the Russians can amplify disinformation via actual Americans who push “Trump’s big lie about a stolen election,” etc. “When some of those groups advocate the overthrow of our government – and as somebody who was on the floor of the Senate on January 6, I can guarantee you those intruders would have caused bodily harm to any member of Congress, Democratic or Republican, they were out for blood – and you have political figures who are still defending that? And those kind of actions are again oftentimes reinforced by RT, Sputnik…But the source of that disinformation, misinformation is actually coming from Americans. We have had appropriate oversight of these groups, whether they were KKK groups or antifa groups on the left…violent extremist groups. And the idea that simply now, because some of these groups have become more mainstream that we’re not going to look at that issue, that is not a safe path for America.”
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