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Live Blog: Sally Yates testifies on Russiagate

From Wiki

In a few minutes, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates will testify before a congressional committee.

Her testimony is widely expected to rock Washington DC, and the Trump administration.

President Trump is feeling the heat, attempting to discredit Yates on twitter before she takes the stand.

Trump also fired Yates for refusing to defend his travel ban.

Or so we thought.

Tastie Fish will be providing live updates of the hearing!

Check back with us for updates.

2:48pm

The hearing has commenced! Yates is about to be sworn in!

2:52pm

Former NSA intelligence director James Clapper is examining a special assessment that was put together “under intense scrutiny” that implicates the Trump administration in questionable behavior, and that the report that was produced provided a compelling argument that the Russians targeted the United States election, while also wanting to hurt Hillary Clinton, and leverage Trump.

Clapper is now addressing the concept of umasking.

Clapper explains that it sometimes is a necessary evil, and that on “several occasions her personally made these request to fully understand the concept of the communication, not for his own personal gain, and that there is a difference between a leak and unmasking.

Unmasking is a government action, Leaks are not.

From Wiki

He is now explaining how the FBI and the NSA worked together, and the full scope of the counter intelligence investigation into the Russian Federation, and the Trump administration.

Clapper’s testimony has been damming, he has debunked the unmasking excuse, explained in full detail why the intelligence community obtained a FISA warrant, and distanced himself, and anyone else from improper activity.

He also admitted that the Russian federation exceeded their wildest dreams!

3:00pm

Sally Yates is testifying!

Sally is explaining the full scope of her career, 27 yeas in all during 5 presidential terms.

From Wiki

“Throughout my time at the career I was lucky enough to work with the people at the Department of Justice.”

Sally admitted that she cannot discuss internal interactions within the DOJ, or other matters that are a currently under investigation.

Sally Yates also made a point of telling the committee that throughout her career she has always been committed to Justice, and that she has attempted to act in a manner befitting of her office.

3:07pm

Lindsey Graham is now questioning Clapper, and asking him about a statement he made in an interview with Chuck Todd in which he stated he didn’t have any evidence.

He says he did.

Yates says she cannot answer that question because that would be revealing classified information.

Graham didn’t like that answer, and asked Yates how she could know something that the NSA does not.

Graham is now addressing the dossier, and asking Clapper if he believed it was a credible report.

Clapper stopped short of saying it was not credible.

Yates interjected, and put Graham in his place.

“Just because I cannot comment on an open investigation does not mean that you should draw an assumption that the answer is yes”

Sally Yates confirms that she instructed the White House 3 times that Michael Flynn was making statements that were untrue, two times in person.

Graham is upset, totally diverting the issue, he is focused on why Flynn was being monitored, and who leaked it to the Washington Post, nevermind what Flynn was talking about.

Graham is focused on unmasking, not the actual issue.

Yates is now explaining the details of her interaction with the White House, including the fact that Michael Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th.

Yates made it clear that she could not reveal classified information, but that Flynn’s behavior was problematic on several levels, and they told the White House that Flynn could be blackmailed by the Russians based on the intelligence they collected.

3:19pm

Sally Yates is being very careful about what she reveals, which is not surprising, but the committee keeps asking Yates questions FBI director James Comey could not answer either.

According to Yates, the urgency to inform the White House was based on the fact that Vice President Mike Pence was unknowingly making false statements to the American public, and the fact that she saw all these statements coming from the White House that were not consistent with what she knew based on the active counter intelligence investigation.

Yates explains that she gave this information to the White House in order for them to take action, not sit on their hands, which they could do for 18 days.

Yates reveals that the White House never followed up on their request to look at the underlying evidence against Michael Flynn, that the day she was awaiting the call, she was fired from the DOJ.

The entire room laughed when she mentioned that.

This hearing is by far the most intense of the hearings investigating Russia thus far, there is a tension that we have not seen yet, this story is going to get huge, there is no excuse for the White House to not have fired Flynn right away almost a month before they did, then when Yates allows them to see the evidence, they refuse to examine the evidence, and she is fired the next day.

Here is the 4 topics Yates discussed with the White House during the second meeting

  1. Why the DOJ cares about Flynn’s conduct
  2. Could Flynn be indicted by the department of Justice
  3. The White House’s request to look at the evidence
  4. The need for the White House to act.

Yates claims she covered all these topics in detail, but she cannot answer why the White House refused to act over the course of the subsequent 18 days “I was no longer with the DOJ after the 30th”

When Sally Yates was fired, many believed it was due to her refusal to defend Trump’s immigration act in court, but the timeline Yates describes seems to line up with the idea that her meetings with the White House regarding Michael Flynn made her a threat that needed to be cast aside, there is no way the White House would have been able to get away with keeping Flynn on board if Yates remains in office.

Yates is now being questioned why she refused to defend Trump’s executive order, what does this have to do with the investigation into Russia?

From Wikimedia Commons

Yates stated that she overruled the office of legal counsel, that she found the immigration order to be unconstitutional, and even though the office of legal counsel found it to be lawful, she decided to overrule them.

3:57pm

Yates says that most times the civil division of the department justice will defend an action by the President, or Congress, but that it is not always the case.

Yates also reminded the committee that she told all of them at her confirmation hearing that she would refuse to do something at the behest of the President if she found it to be unlawful, and unconstitutional.

Which was the case here.

Ted Cruz is pressing Yates on why she refused to uphold Trump’s order, asking her if she is aware of a Deputy attorney general refusing to follow the Presidents wishes legally, Yates responded, no, but that  she was also not aware of the President making legal decisions and informing the justice department after the fact.

4:20pm

Yates reveals that she was at the White House at around 3PM the day the order was implemented, and the White House did not inform them that the order would go into affect, the Justice Department was blindsided by the order.

Yates decision was due in large measure to the fact that her office was not consulted or informed prior to the decision, they had to read news reports like the rest of America.

It’s surprising that committee republicans are using this hearing to grill Yates over her decision to not defend the travel ban, but Yates refuted their angry assertions with sound and crisp judgement.

This hearing is about Russia, for Ted Cruz to attempt to divert the issue is part of the larger problem at hand here, there is congressional members attempting to throw the stink off the trail with disinformation, and irrelevant discourse, hampering on immigration during a crucial hearing regarding Russian in our involvement election.

4:36pm

Yates made it clear that if she had remained with the Justice Department, she would have pressed the Trump administration to take action with Michael Flynn, but the discussion keeps moving back and forth because the Republicans seem intent on confronting her over the travel ban.

There does seem to be an anger towards her from the Republican side, they are totally focused on issues that have nothing to do with Russian involvement, or the Trump administration, they are moving putting Yates on trial.

But they are looking really bad because she is essentially educating them on the constitution, and the function of her office, it’s as if they don’t know.

“Who appointed you to the supreme court”

Wow, what a question by Senator Kennedy of Louisiana, very insulting, and ignorant, Yates was within her rights to do what she did.

In a way, this all feels very sexist, to ask a career woman like Yates such a question implies a complete lack of respect for her, and the office was steward over.

4:55pm

President Trump is now the focus, the committee is asking director Clapper that Trump attempting to implicate China could be seen as an attempt to help Russia is helpful to the Kremlin, and that he has NO doubt that it was the Russians who meddled in our election.

Clapper does not see an upside to the President’s actions, there is no reason for him to be making public statements that undermine American security agencies.

Senator Franken is now questioning why Flynn was allowed to stay in office after he was clearly compromised, why was he allowed to participate in high level briefings, why he was able access secure information, and meet with foreign leaders, including an extensive phone meeting with Vladimir Putin himself.

 

 

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