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Russia Investigation Begins: What Should Senators Investigate?

by Countable | 5.9.17

The testimony by former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism has begun.

Committee Chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated that:

"Every American should be concerned about what the Russians did [to interfere with the 2016 election]...there’s no doubt in my mind it was the Russians involved...not some 400 lb guy on a bed or any other country", so the point of the day’s hearing was to discuss all things Russia.

Yates is testifying specifically about her conversations in late January with White House counsel Donald McGahn. In two meetings, on January 26 and 27, she met to inform him of concerns by the Department of Justice that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the administration about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and was therefore in a position to be blackmailed.

Yates said that Vice-President Pence did not, she believed, knowingly misrepresent Flynn’s actions, but that Flynn had lied to the vice-president. In fact, that his lying was what "compromised" him and made him vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government.

Yates testified concerning the items covered in that first meeting:

"We...walked through with Mr. McGahn essentially why we were telling [the administration] about this. The first thing..was that the underlying conduct that General Flynn had engaged in was problematic in and of itself...And we wanted to make it really clear right out of the gate that we were not accusing Vice-President Pence of knowingly providing false information to the American people… We were concerned that the American people had been misled…[and] that we weren’t the only ones that knew all of this. The Russians also knew what Gen. Flynn had done and...knew that the general had misled the vice-president and others...This was a problem because not only did the Russians know this but that they likely had proof of this information and that created a compromise situation, a situation where the National Security Advisor could essentially be blackmailed."

Both officials were questioned repeatedly about if they had leaked, or ordered anyone under their supervision to leak, confidential material. Both responded that they had not. There have also been repeated questions about "unmasking", the disclosing of the names of U.S. citizens who may have been incidentally surveilled in the course of legal surveillance of non-U.S. officials.

Throughout the early part of the hearing Yates asserted repeatedly that she would not disclose information that was classified or would effect an ongoing investigation. Hopes that she would disclose information not previously known about conversations between herself and McGahn were largely not realized.

What do you think of Yates and Clapper's testimony? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(82)
  • Mirek
    05/09/2017
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    This issue requires an independent special prosecutor and a full Senate investigation.

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  • Nembula
    05/09/2017
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    The investigation needs to be conducted by an outside panel of non-partisan people. The republicans demonstrated amply during their questioning of Sally Yates they are more concerned with the truth being "leaked" to the American people than with Russian interference in our election. The foot dragging, obfuscation and misdirection being perpetrated by right wing conservatives and their party is a shameful disgrace to our country. It certainly will not help ferret out the truth and remove traitors from positions of power or prosecute them.

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  • Aqil
    05/09/2017
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    We need an independent investigation not a republican protect the guilty Republican Party investigation.

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  • Karen
    05/09/2017
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    Teapot Dome? Watergate? These scandals are miniscule, compared to the cesspool swirling around the Trump administration. If you fail to appoint an unbiased independent counsel to investigate, you will all go down in history as the most corrupt Congress ever to sit in Washington, D.C. May God have mercy on your souls.

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  • HockeyGuy
    05/09/2017
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    Senators should investigate the depth of the Russian invasion into our Democracy. It starts with Trump, but The Russian cancer has probably metastasized to his Administration and perhaps some congressional members. Follow the money! There are reasons why Trump has selected so many millionaires and billionaires to run his Administration and ruin our Democracy and country.

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  • Shawna
    05/09/2017
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    Please advocate for an independent and transparent investigation to be conducted!

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  • Evelyn
    05/09/2017
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    More than ever it is your responsibility to make sure that there is an impartial independent investigation toward the Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Why wouldn't this be a priority to you? It is to your constituents!!

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  • nickpry
    05/09/2017
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    A full nonpartisan investigation needs to be done into Russian or other state-sanctioned hacking and misinformation in the election. There is enough coincidences and evidence that to not investigate would be irresponsible.

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  • Irene
    05/09/2017
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    The corruption and fraud of the current Republican Party and their leader should be investigated to the highest extent of the law. Sally Yates was fired for defending the constitution against the present fascists in the current administration and was a deliberate attempt to cover up their involvement with the dictator of Russia for the undermining of our election.

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  • Jack
    05/09/2017
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    It is clear that republican reps are more concerned with partisan politics than with Russian ties to this corrupt administration. If this information about Flynn had not of leaked, we would still have a national security adviser feeding information to the Russians. This information about Flynn was absolutely beneficial to America. Go after this corrupt administration instead of trying to find the leak! You are alienating you own constituents! This is about cover up and not about politics or partisan finger pointing. You are essentially helping them. Stop it!

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  • Ken
    05/09/2017
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    The picture of the non-stop divisive partisan arguing about everything under the sun is becoming the norm. Searching for the truth in the goings on of our government should be bi-partisan. Do we expect honesty from our children or from our parents or from our friends? We have an admimistration that thinks they are above the truth. Just because Donld Trump says what he says doesn't make it true. The more synical work in the making is that if Donald Trump says one thing and you or me disagrees then we must be wrong. We must remember that truth is always out there and it's up to us to be willing to grasp it without fear.

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  • Jennifer
    05/09/2017
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    We need an independent investigation into this matter!

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  • Keith
    05/09/2017
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    It would an act of good faith if Republicans led the way here, in investigating Russia's involvement in our election. Because one day, it may be your own party that loses due to interference. The American people deserve to know the truth, and they deserve to know that an investigation will be done independently, free of party lines.

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  • Patty
    05/09/2017
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    The investigation needs to delve further into WHY the Russians wanted Trump to win. It needs to look at Russian investments in trump and kushners family businesses, Jared kushners meetings with the Russian bank that's run by a former KGB official, all of it!

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  • Nora
    05/09/2017
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    We need a separate independent investigation on this matter.

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  • Carol
    05/09/2017
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    We need a full independent Investigation with special prosecutor to investigate WH/Russian collusion!!!!

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  • James
    05/09/2017
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    I think the senate should pay more attention to who has had contact with Russian operatives and what level of classified information they are currently privy to. There is little if any doubt that collusion has occurred so we need to see if or how Russia is or can influence or gain classified information from those who have been involved. Also, investigate why has there been hesitation by the administration to terminate those in question or at least cut them out of the classified information circle until the end of all investigations. Eighteen days is forever in terms of how much damage can be done and information leaked. Was this incompetence or collusion? Also, I feel the Yates hearing was at some points a show of partisan politics by the majority party by redirecting the conversation away from the topic. This is extremely disturbing because this issue deserves everyone to put nation over party. This issue is a threat to America itself. No different than an attack on our soil in some ways and in other ways far worse due to its deep reaching potential effects.

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  • Bill
    05/09/2017
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    My concern about this is that if the president is involved, the information will be suppressed or ignored.

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  • Bluewitsend
    05/09/2017
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    It is imperative that Russian interference be completely understood, investigated, and halted. This is a clear danger for our democracy.

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  • Simon
    05/09/2017
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    We need the CIA looking into this. This is a big deal and is being taken too lightly by Republicans because they think that they won and everyone else is trying to tarnish that. That's actually not true. People are trying to make sure that our elections are safe and fair. Not to much to ask for, right?

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