Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified today on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified. Ms. Yates spoke about two late January 2017 meetings she had with the White House general counsel about certain behavior of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and her concerns that Gen. Flynn had become the subject of potential blackmail by Russia. She also explained her conclusion that President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees was unlawful; she was fired as acting attorney general for refusing to enforce the order.
First, highlights from around the web.
Trump tweeted prior to hearings:
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Both Clapper and Yates asked for a Trump associate to be unmasked and both also said they can’t talk about it because it is classified.
Clapper said in one case he DID ask for a Trump associate to be unmasked but can’t talk about it bc classified
— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) May 8, 2017
Yates ALSO says she asked for a Trump associate to be unmasked and also can’t talk about it bc classified.
— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) May 8, 2017
Direct Link to view video – Clapper Did Ask for Trump associate to be unmasked
Why is Clapper being questioned? He already lied to congress under oath. I wouldn’t trust a word coming out of his lying mouth.
— Dudley Walden 👌 (@KYWrangler) May 8, 2017
For full details of the hearing including video clips continue below.
All Video Sourced from LIVE ON-AIR NEWS
Sally Yates Opening Statements
“We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this… the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done, and the Russians also knew that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others… Not only did we believe that the Russians knew this, but that they likely had proof of this information, and that created a compromise situation––a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”
Lindsey Graham Grills Sally Yates At Senate Hearing
Senator Lindsey Graham took a thinly-veiled shot at President Donald Trump during his opening remarks at the Sally Yates congressional hearing on Monday.
‘From my point of view, there’s no doubt in my mind it was the Russians involved in all the things I just described — not some 400-pound guy sitting on a bed, or any other country,” Graham said.
The weight phrase is a reference to a line Mr. Trump gave at the first presidential debate in September 2016 to counter Hillary Clinton: “[Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe, it was. It could also be China. It could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
The South Carolina senator had just outlined that “the intelligence community unanimously said that the Russians, through their intelligence services, tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election — that it was the Russians who hacked [John] Podesta’s e-mails; it was the Russians who broke into the Democratic National Committee; it was Russians who helped empower Wikileaks.”
Senator Graham later underlined that “Russia is up to no good when it comes to democracies all over the world.” He added that “it could be our campaigns next” — a reference to the upcoming congressional elections in 2018.
Chuck Grassley GRILLS James Clapper & Sally Yates On Unmasking
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates spoke publicly in her testimony to the Senate about what she spoke to White House Counsel Don McGahn regarding National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
She said she had spoken with McGahn because she was aware of comments that had been made by Vice President Mike Pence and others about what Flynn said in his call with the Russian ambassador that “we knew not to be the truth.”
Yates spoke about Flynn’s “problematic” conduct and confirmed a report from back in February that she warned the White House Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail: “We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this… the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done, and the Russians also knew that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others… Not only did we believe that the Russians knew this, but that they likely had proof of this information, and that created a compromise situation––a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”
Yates recalled that McGahn had asked if Flynn should be fired and she said she responded that wasn’t her call.
Ted Cruz Grills Sally Yates For Refusing To Defend Travel ban Executive Order
Ted Cruz and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates squared off in a testy showdown over President Donald Trump‘s proposed travel ban — which, in its original form, proposed a ban on travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Yates was fired by Trump after refusing to implement the ban, which was eventually ruled to be unconstitutional by a Federal Circuit Court.
The Texas senator, in his allotted time for questioning at Monday’s Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about interference in the 2016 election, pressed Yates on the ban. He asked if she was familiar with 8 U.S.C. 1182. Yates said she wasn’t.“Well, it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement and that led to your termination,” Cruz said. “So it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute.”
Cruz then proceeded to quote from the statute: Whenever the President finds that the entry of any alien or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation and for such period as he shall deem necessary suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.
“Would you agree that that is broad statutory authorization?” Cruz asked.
Yates wasted no time with her response: “I would, and I am familiar with that, and I’m also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says ‘no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth.’ That, I believe, was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that’s been part of the discussion with the courts with respect to the INA is whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described. But my concern was not an INA concern here. It rather was a Constitutional concern, whether or not the executive order here violated the Constitution specifically with the establishment clause and equal protection and due process.”
Full Video can be found here