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The Senate Judiciary Committee review of the Russia investigation got off to a rousing start Wednesday when Sen. Lindsey Graham questioned former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates about her actions in the waning days of the Obama administration.
Graham wasted no time getting to the phony Russian dossier on Trump that was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and used to secure surveillance warrants on the president’s 2016 campaign.
“We are talking about using a document that came from a Russian sub source to get a warrant against an American citizen that was full of garbage. Does that bother you?” he asked Yates, who was one of the individuals who signed off on the FISA warrants.
Before Yates could reply, Graham asked, “Does it bother you that the FISA court rebuked the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding the Carter Page warrant application?”
Yates replied that the agencies have a “duty of candor” with the FISA Court, before admitting that they did not meet this duty.
Stating that the document used was a “fraud,” he asked Yates if she would sign it today, knowing what she now knows.
“I would not sign anything I knew to contain errors or omissions,” she answered, before acknowledging that she did not know that at the time.
Graham also got Yates to acknowledge that she now knows it contained incorrect information.
Shifting his focus to the infamous Oval Office meeting on January 5, 2017, the GOP senator had Yates establish that former Vice President Joe Biden was present.
“Did he mention the Logan Act?” Graham asked, this being the law used to go after former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
“I do not remember the vice president saying much of anything,” Yates said.
When he asked if anyone else mentioned it, she replied: “I have a vague memory of Director [James] Comey mentioning the Logan Act.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. soon interrupted to essentially accuse Graham of being sexist.
“Mr. Chairman, let her answer the question,” Leahy said. “Just because it’s a woman testifying doesn’t mean she needs to be cut off.”
“Thanks a lot Sen. Leahy, I really appreciate that. You’re very constructive,” Graham shot back.
He pressed on about whether the Logan Act was mentioned in the meeting, but Yates’ memory was too spotty to recall when it was brought up.
Yates would not comment on whether Flynn’s actions were in violation of the Logan Act and said she wasn’t aware at that meeting that the FBI had planned to drop the investigation of Flynn.
Remarkably, Graham established that Yates did not even know that the FBI had a counterintelligence operation open on Flynn.
Turning to the Jan. 24th interview of Flynn by the FBI, Graham asked her if she authorized the meeting.
“I did not authorize it because I was not told about it in advance, but that is not the same thing as a saying there was not a legitimate basis for it,” she said.
Pressed on what that basis was, she said,” We had evidence that the Russians were attempting to influence the election.”
After tearing part the alleged evidence, the focus returned to the Flynn interview.
“You did not authorize the interview. You wanted to go to the White House and tell them about the problem, didn’t you?” Graham asked.
“That’s right,” she replied. “I thought that was the more immediate issue.”
“When you heard about the interview, you got upset, didn’t you?” the chairman then asked.
“I was upset Director Comey acted unilaterally,” Yates clarified.
The next exchange seemed to even catch Sen. Graham off guard.
He asked her did the former FBI director “go rogue,” and Yates answered: “You could use that term, yes.”
SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF SALLY YATES’ HEARING
- Sally Yates admits Comey went ‘rogue’; Graham’s opening shots at Senate hearing make her squirm
- Dem Senator, with no evidence, accuses Sen Graham of mistreating Sally Yates because she’s a woman
- Fiery Hawley comes hard at Yates: ‘If this doesn’t call for a cleaning house in DOJ, FBI, I don’t know what does’
- Sen. Kennedy asks Yates, if he does what she did, ‘am I like a rock, only dumber?’
- Sally Yates tries to deny Trump campaign was surveilled, Sen. Cruz helps clear it up for her
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