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Video: On “This Week,” Sen. Mark Warner Says TX Judge’s Ruling Was “Crazy,” “women’s healthcare choices ought to be made by women”

On Sen. Dianne Feinstein's extended absence, Sen. Warner said, "My hope is she'll get back to work as soon as possible."

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Sen. Mark Warner on “This Week” this morning had the following to say:

  • On the Supreme Court and women’s reproductive freedom: “…the judge’s decision in Texas I think was crazy, the notion that you would take a drug that has been used safely for more than two decades and somehow just take that away from availability…women’s healthcare choices ought to be made by women and the idea of this judge so radically intervening with a safe procedure…It undermines the very integrity of our FDA process.”
  • On the Sudan situation: “First of all, we ought to commend the military and the intelligence community for getting our diplomatic personnel out, that was a dangerous mission…Americans should not travel to Sudan…”
  • On the leak of U.S. classified intelligence: “We’ve known this has been a problem. We actually have to have, I believe, Congress intervene…I’ve been a big advocate of security clearance reform…we then have to put something in place something called continuous vetting…”
  • On whether Sen. Dianne Feinstein should step down: “My hope is she’ll get back to work as soon as possible.”

Transcript from Sen. Mark Warner’s office:

ABC’s This Week

MARTHA RADDATZ: We are joined now by Democratic Senator Mark Warner, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Thanks for joining us this morning. I want to go back to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow full access to the abortion pill. How do you read the court on this in regards to the other cases coming up? What do you think is going to happen there?

SEN. MARK WARNER: I’m not sure how to read it. I do know that it was the judge’s decision in Texas, I think it was crazy, the notion that you would take a drug that has been used safely for more than two decades and somehow then take that away from availability. You know, I, frankly, think this is an issue that women’s health care choices ought to be made by women and the idea of this judge so radically intervening with a safe procedure, you know, frankly, not only about women’s health care choices, but it undermines the very integrity of our FDA process. And I think the court got it right, but who knows where their ultimate decision will be.

RADDATZ: Are you worried about abortion access for your constituents? Governor Glenn Youngkin made it clear his administration will prioritize limiting access to abortions.

SEN. WARNER: I think that is not where the vast majority of Virginians are at. And I think as you see these moves towards even a six-week ban in Florida, that voters, I think, will overwhelmingly reject those kind of policies.

RADDATZ: And I want to turn now to Sudan quickly if we can. You are on the Intelligence Committee. What have you seen about what is going to happen there next, and in particular those American citizens?

SEN. WARNER: Well, I think, first of all, we ought to commend the military and the intelligence community for getting our diplomatic personnel out. That was a dangerous mission to take them out by helicopter. I think we have been very clear literally since 2021 that Americans should not travel to Sudan. The vast majority of those – the numbers that have been bandied around, 16,000, are dual nationals, Sudanese Americans. Those individuals who are there on aid missions. There is actually a U.N. effort now to get people from Khartoum out over the land corridor. And I know we are working with a lot of international partners. In this case, partners from the Middle East even, I believe, working with – with China and Europeans to say, those aid workers, we need to find a safe way to get – to get them out. In the meantime, though, they do need to shelter in place until those convoys are put in place.

RADDATZ: And let’s talk about those intelligence documents. It’s been going on for several weeks but it seems to get worse and worse. More documents leaked. The Pentagon apparently unaware that they were linked many, many, many months ago. When you look at this, who should you point the finger at?

SEN. WARNER: Well, first of all, Martha, this is a problem that we shouldn’t be totally surprised at. We’ve known for a long time we way overclassify documents. Matter of fact, the default position is always to classify, number one. Number two, we don’t have a single entity in charge. So, in many cases, what may be classified within the intelligence community may be different types of documents than the DOD. The third thing is, once we get to that highest level of classification, we maybe have too many folks taking a look at them. Over 4 million people with clearances. So, let’s classify less.

RADDATZ: A computer technician.

SEN. WARNER: Well, a computer technician, if this had been at another entity, another agency, like the NSA, where, unfortunately, we’ve had leaks in the past, there would have been internal controls that would have said, you just can’t copy that many documents. We need to make sure we’ve got similar internal controls across the whole system. I believe we need somebody fully in charge of the classification process. And I believe for those classified documents, there ought to be a smaller universe.

And this individual literally was just an IT tech, there’s no reason that that person should be able to see the full document. You may have to see the header, but the actual contents, there’s ways to make this safer.

We’ve known this has been a problem. We actually have to have, I believe, Congress intervened and we have to do a better job. And, frankly, this individual, I think, clearly if — is proven to be the case that he was the leaker, he needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

RADDATZ: Are you satisfied with what you have heard from the administration? I know in the very early days the Pentagon was saying, look, we have safety things in place so this can’t happen. Clearly, that did not work. So, are you satisfied with what you have already heard in your briefings?

SEN. WARNER: I think this is still an evolving case. The one thing that we’ve got to do a better job on, and I’ve been a big advocate of security clearance reform. We can’t go to the other end of the spectrum where somebody has to wait a year or two before they get a security clearance if they want to go work for something like the CIA. But what we say we’re going to do to security clearance reform, we then have to put in place something called continuous vetting, so you are vetted along the way on an ongoing basis. But it really raises really hard questions. You know, should that vetting me, of course it — you should be able to look at your public Facebook postings, but when we’re talking about something that’s a private chat room with the so-called Discord site, that raises a whole series of other questions I don’t think we’ve sorted through enough.

RADDATZ: And very quickly, Senator Dianne Feinstein, your Intelligence Committee colleague, has been away from the Senate since February with shingles. Should she resign?

SEN. WARNER: Listen, I’m hopeful that Dianne will return as soon as possible.  I served with her on the Intelligence Committee.  She’s been a great senator.  But my hope is she’ll get back to work as soon as possible.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us.

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