The testimony that Sally Yates and James Clapper gave to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism dealt a fatal blow to the White House’s claims that the Russia story is fake news.
“Given the importance of the job, the President through there were better people for it, and that Flynn wasn’t up for the job,” a former senior Obama administration official told CNN Monday.
Other former Obama administration officials said then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t think highly of Flynn, and in fact was the person who recommended Flynn’s firing as DNI in 2014.
Yates acknowledged that some of Flynn’s conduct in his relations with Russia and which is publicly known rises to the level of criminal behavior. Flynn could reasonably face criminal charges and if found guilty, there would be a basis to lock him up. One can only speculate about the underlying conduct Yates referenced, but wouldn’t specify because doing so would entail disclosing classified information.
Clapper’s testimony was devastating on the matter of collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.
As David Corn observed, “On March 5, Clapper was interviewed by NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Meet The Press and asked if there was any evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. Clapper’s response: “Not to my knowledge.”
Trump et al cited that interview every chance they got. On March 20th, Trump tweeted, “James Clapper and others stated there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. The story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it.”
Actually, there is a difference between a categoric statement that no evidence exists and one not being aware of such evidence, which was made evident in Clapper’s testimony.
Clapper took that talking point away, during his testimony on Monday. Clapper is on record acknowledging that he was not aware of the FBI’s investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia that FBI director James Comey disclosed during his testimony before the House intelligence committee. So if he wasn’t aware of the investigation, it stands to reason that when Clapper told Todd he was unaware of any evidence of collusion, he was speaking accurately. On Monday, he told the Senate subcommittee that he was not in a position to know with certainty.
Corn went on to note that Clapper confirmed that US intelligence agencies have possessed secret information about ties between Trump’s circle and Moscow since late 2015. Clapper described a report by the Guardian on this matter, published last month, as “accurate”.
Between testimony offered by Yates and Clapper, and reports that President Obama warned the current White House about Flynn, no reasonable person can doubt that the Trump White house protected a national security adviser who could be compromised by Moscow.
It’s small wonder the Trump White House did everything possible to prevent this testimony from happening, including requests the sub-committee cancel the hearing. When that failed, Trump applied the smear and run strategy Jason Easley wrote about on Sunday followed by attempts to intimidate Sally Yates via Twitter on Monday.
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
The drip, drip, drip of truth is making Trump’s White House very nervous. They should be. This story isn’t going away and the facts won’t be dropped down a memory hole.