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Video: Sen. Mark Warner Says With Passage of Foreign Aid Package, TikTok Bill and Section 702 Reauthorization, “The last five days, at least for me, has been like Christmas in April”

"I think it is as important as what happened in advance of World War II"

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See below for video and a few highlights from Sen. Mark Warner’s weekly press availability.

  • The last five days at least for me has been like Christmas in April. I’ve had three of my top priorities that I’ve worked on each of them for, in some cases, more than a year – all get signed by the president. The reauthorization of Section 702 and our intelligence bill that was passed by the Senate on Friday night; and of course last night the assistance to Ukraine; and the movement on a divesture on TikTok.”
  • This should not have taken 6 months. The fact that we had close to 80% of the House and 80% of the Senate overwhelmingly say that America was not going to retreat, not become isolationist, and stand by our allies in Ukraine, sends a strong message not only to Vladimir Putin, but to authoritarian regimes in China, in Iran and North Korea and elsewhere, that America will stand strong and we will stand by our  commitments. We’ve seen the Ukrainians over the last couple years, as I’ve told you, beat back the Russians repeatedly – 87% of Russian pre-existing ground forces have been eliminated from the battlefield, 63% of their tanks, 32% of armored personnel carriers – at a cost to the United States of less than three 3% of our defense spending, and without the loss of a single American soldier’s life. This additional $60 billion in economic and military aid, and the military aid about 90 cents on every dollar will actually be spent right here in America, where we produce some munitions that will go to our Ukrainian friends, is extraordinarily important. I think it is as important as what happened in advance of World War II when then-British Prime Minister Chamberlain basically acceded to Adolf Hitler’s demands in Munich. We could have had that same kind of giving in to authoritarianism if we’d walked away. So today, I think the world is safer, I think our our friends in Ukraine are safer, I think NATO is stronger…It was an  enormously important step.”
  • “In that bill as well, there is assistance for Taiwan and also trying to make sure that President XI does not take a take a page from Putin and try to move into Taiwan, as well as necessary military aid to Israel and humanitarian aid. The unfortunate fact that now over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza conflict. And while it’s important that we get these arms to Israel, I hope Israel will also bear in mind, just a week ago when we saw Iran launch missiles against Israel, yes it was Israel that took down a lot of those missiles, yes it was American assistance, but it was also British assistance, French assistance, Jordanian assistance and Saudi Arabian assistance, helping Israel. Israel is stronger when it has allies. The only way it will keep allies is if we can bring this conflict in Gaza to an end, get the hostages returned and end the bloodshed. So I think this additional assistance there was was critically important.”
  • “TikTok…It’s been over a year, and I think the heavy-handed tactics that TikTok used, perhaps successfully, against my initial bipartisan bill, the Restrict Act, while they were successful a year ago, their same heavy-handed tactics have not been successful in this round again…over 80% of the House and close to 80% of the Senate said TikTok needs to be divested from its control by its Chinese ownership. As I’ve said many times here, Chinese law dictates that Chinese companies, their top priority is not shareholders or their customers, it is the Communist Party of China. And this entity, while enormously popular – 170 million Americans average 90 minutes a day – the idea that they’re collecting this kind of data or potentially TikTok could potentially be used as a propaganda tool is enormously troubling…Christopher Ray, the director of the FBI, said it’s a national security concern, virtually all of our intelligence community has said so, and every other major democracy in in the world – in Europe, Australia, New Zealand – have all prohibited TikTok from their governmental devices. And the vast majority of major news organizations have said to their journalists, don’t use TikTok or chances are you could be surveilled by Chinese sources. And I think, again, over the year we’ve seen lots of stories from disgruntled former TikTok employees indicating that ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, the Chinese company continues to interfere, so I think this was a strong step forward. I hope now with a year time that we can have this transaction take place. As I’ve said before, a lot of creativity on Tik Tok, folks make money off of it as social influencers, I’ve got no problem with that. Just at the end of the day, the entity that controls the algorithm and that is potentially collecting the data ought to be not a national adversary of the United States in terms of the Chinese  Communist Party. So I would be happy to help any in terms of these divesture efforts, and I know people have already indicated interest in purchasing the company so that kind of creativity can continue.”

 

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