WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism of the House Judiciary Committee that lasted nearly three hours on Monday, neither Sally Q. Yates, the former Attorney General of the United States, nor James R. Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, could produce any evidence Gen. James Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Trump, had violated any law in his discussions with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In questioning that was at times highly political, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), ended the hearing by entering into the record a McClatchy Washington Bureau newspaper article dated March 20, 2017, that reported the FBI’s Russian influence probe was investigating news sites Breitbart and Infowars, offering no proof that the McClatchy new report was true.
To date, Infowars has received no inquiry from the FBI regarding an investigation into collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Under questioning from subcommittee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, Yates testified she did not know how information about General Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russians got leaked to the Washington Post.
Yates refused to answer whether there was a FISA warrant authorizing electronic surveillance of either Kislyak or Flynn, nor would she answer whether Flynn was picked as a collateral person of interest simply because he talked with the Russian ambassador, who may have been the initial target of the Justice Department investigation.
Nor would Yates answer repeated questions regarding who in the Department of Justice authorized the “unmasking” of Flynn, identifying him by name in the electronic surveillance that involved the Russian ambassador, even though she admitted there should be a record within the Obama administration indicating precisely the identity of the person or persons with the Obama administration who requested and authorized the information about Gen. Flynn be “unmasked.”
By “unmasking” the information, Flynn – an American citizen – was identified by name in intelligence reports as he was picked up in the electronic surveillance of the Russian ambassador being conducted by the Obama administration, supposedly under a FISA-court order.
Under oath, Yates testified she did not know how the classified information about Gen. Flynn got passed to the newspapers so soon after she explained it to the White House counsel.
She also testified that she never served as an anonymous source or authorized anyone to act as an anonymous source to leak information about Donald Trump to the press.
Under persistent questioning from Sen. John Kennedy, (R-La.), Yates admitted she wrote the memo that got her fired by President Trump, in which she instructed Department of Justice lawyers not to defend in court President Trump’s initial travel ban executive order, because she felt the executive order constituted an unconstitutional attack on religious liberty.
“Who appointed you to the U.S. Supreme Court?” Kennedy asked, ending a line of questioning in which he accused Yates of exercising her personal political prejudices supporting Obama-era immigration policies that had open U.S. borders to Muslims fleeing the Middle East as refugees.
While there seemed to be a consensus among Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittee that Russia had intervened into the 2016 presidential election to benefit Donald Trump, the hearing neglected to investigate evidence Russia may have preferred Clinton had won, given the potential to blackmail the Democrats over lucrative business deals concluded with Russia while Clinton was Secretary of State.
Infowars.com has reported the Clinton Foundation was rewarded by Russia for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to award to Russia some 20 percent of U.S. uranium production, or that Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, had been paid by Russia for his participation in the technology transfer to Russia under Sec. Clinton’s “reset” policy, receiving stock from Russia through a shell company in the Netherlands that Russia created to facilitate money laundering.
Also, missing from the hearing was questioning over historical evidence the Russians had intervened in previous presidential elections to assist Democratic Party presidential candidates.
In 1968, Anatoly Dobrynin, then Russia’s ambassador to the United States, was ordered by Moscow to offer Richard Nixon’s Democratic Party rival, Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr., “any conceivable help in his election campaign – including financial aid.”
In 1984, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy asked then-Russian Premier Yuri Andropov to intervene in the U.S. presidential election to help defeat Ronald Reagan.