Fiery Hawley comes hard at Yates: ‘If this doesn’t call for a cleaning house in DOJ, FBI, I don’t know what does’

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Sen. Josh Hawley eviscerated former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in a heated exchange during congressional testimony on the Russia probe.

The Missouri Republican confronted Yates during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on conflicting claims about the investigation into the Trump campaign and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying it “seems nobody is responsible.”

(Source: C-SPAN)

“We are left wondering, who exactly is responsible here?” Hawley asked Yates after noting that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had testified that he could not be held accountable for falsified FISA applications which Yates had also signed off on.

“Somehow or another a federal court, a secret federal court, was actively misled, lied to and presented with falsified evidence, but nobody in the chain of command is to blame. So let me just ask you about your own responsibility. Did you read these applications?” the lawmaker asked.

“I did,” Yates replied.

“You did? That’s your testimony today?” Hawley asked, nailing Yates on the discrepancy. “You told the inspector general that you had no recollection actually of reviewing renewal application number one. Is your testimony today different?”

“What I told the inspector general was, I didn’t have a specific recollection of sitting at my desk and asking questions about it, but I assuredly reviewed it,” Yates said.

“That is great if you did,” Hawley quipped, noting that he had more detailed questions to ask.

He then reviewed some of Yates’ previous remarks contending that she didn’t have any “qualms” about the initial FISA application and renewals for warrants on Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“I was referring to the applications based on the assumption that all of the information was accurate. What was learned later and what the FISA court was responding to later, was that there were errors and omissions,” Yates responded to the senator’s line of questioning.

“The errors and omissions were there at the time that you signed off on them, were they not? And you just testified that you read them, closely. So, they were there when you signed off on them, correct?” Hawley pressed.

“That is correct,” Yates admitted.

Hawley went on to quote the FISA court, asking Yates at the end: “Are you still of the view that these applications were not a close call at all and you would do the same thing now? These were appropriate steps?”

Yates pushed back, remarking about the senator putting “my testimony in context” as she went on to try to clarify the obvious discrepancy.

“I was referring to the decision I made at the time. Based on the factual information presented to me,” she said.

“So you were a passive party in this?” Hawley shot back. “What responsibility do you bear for the deliberate and systematic misleading of a federal court?”

“Do you regret the fact that you signed applications that contained false and misleading material that a court says now calls into question their ability to rely on anything the FBI says?” he pressed.

“I certainly regret that the Department of Justice submitted with the FBI FISA applications that were inaccurate,” she responded.

The senator ended his questioning by noting a “pattern.”

“I seem to detect a pattern here. Ms. Yates testifies she has no idea what her deputy is doing as he facilitates contacts between the political opposition research and the FBI, has no idea these applications she signed materially misled a federal court, just like Mr. Rosenstein said he had no idea,” he said.

“Nobody appears to know anything in this government, and yet somehow, a federal court was deliberately and systematically misled so severely they now say they can’t trust anything that the FBI did,” he said. “If this doesn’t call for a cleaning of house at the DOJ and FBI, I don’t know what is.”

Twitter users watching the exchange erupted in comments praising the lawmaker for exposing the former Obama-era official.



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