Sally Yates testifies about Michael Flynn as Trump calls probes a 'charade'

Flynn stayed on as national security adviser for the administration for 18 days after Yates first brought those concerns to the White House counsel's office.

The key takeaways from the very partisan hearings were based around the timeline and intentions leading up to the controversial firing of former National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn, and the continued questions about the Trump campaign's connections to Russian Federation.

Yates described her account of discussions made with White House counsel where she warned that Flynn had been misleading the administration about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn said her actions with regard to the executive order were "enormously disappointing" and accused her of undermining the powers of the President because she disagreed with Trump's order "as a policy matter".

A White House official told CNN that the administration plans to rebut Yates by employing two strategies: Calling into question her objectivity by arguing she is a partisan Democrat and questioning the timeline of events she is expected to present. "We felt like the vice president and others were entitled to know that the information that they were conveying to the American people wasn't true".

"The vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and. we believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians", Yates said. Yates was sacked for instructing Justice Department attorneys not to defend the order.

Graham asked Yates whether she had any information about whether there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. But he didn't come that day, and that night Yates was sacked for refusing to implement Trump's order banning travelers from several majority-Muslim nations.

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Ahead of the Senate hearing, Trump sought to distance himself from Flynn, citing the decision by the Defense Intelligence Agency to extend Flynn's security clearance after he retired in 2014.

"The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?" fumed one post, while in a second the president targeted Yates - claiming she had "said nothing but old news!" after earlier assailing her for allegedly leaking classified information.

Monday's hearing was also a master class by Democrats in the use of innuendo and suspicion to maximize the political damage to the administration.

Clapper qualified his earlier statement that he knew of no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation - a point House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has used to exculpate Trump. Counterintelligence investigations like this one that examine the operations of foreign intelligence services on USA soil are heavily classified, historically time-consuming and rarely result in criminal charges.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have now filled in some key pieces of the sprawling puzzle presented by the Russian Federation investigations.

Speaking in a familiar refrain, Sanders bemoaned the United States' relatively low voter turnout rates and said it was a boon for conservative politicians. Trump has said repeatedly that the leaks of classified information are far more significant than the connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

Though some Republicans on the panel engaged in such diversions, the subcommittee chairman, Lindsey Graham, rose above partisanship. "We're all in the same boat".

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Forty-five years ago next month a White House conversation took place that will be remembered by history as the one containing the infamous "18-minute gap."

- White House spokesman Sean Spicer, at a news briefing, May 8. Would DOJ pursue a criminal case? Would taking action against Flynn immediately interfere with the FBI's investigation? Could he see the underlying evidence collected in Flynn's interview? And even after firing him, the president seemed unwilling to admit that Flynn did anything wrong. You don't have to be Tom Clancy to wonder why.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank added this morning, "Where there is smoke there is not necessarily fire".

Thanks for your continued support.

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SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-Iowa: Have either of you ever been an anonymous source in a news report about matters relating to Mr. Trump, his associates or Russians' attempt to meddle in the election? The response, in a word, is heartening. It wasn't. She in fact revealed new details. Subscriptions start as low as 25¢ per day.

Julie Pace of the AP and our own Lisa Desjardins, we thank you both.

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