Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump preparing certified letter attesting to no Russian Federation ties

The former Director of National Intelligence just gave his statements along with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to a Senate judiciary committee regarding the allegations that the Russians had a hand in shaping USA elections through their collusion with the Trump campaign. She told Cornyn she also remembered him attending her confirmation hearing. If Trump and his administration believe that accounting to be either untrue or only a partial telling of what actually happened, they owe it to taxpayers to come forward and say why - and how.

Graham asked Yates whether she had any information about whether there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Yates testified that she and a senior official in the national security division at the Justice Department met with McGahn, the top White House lawyer, on two consecutive days a week after the inauguration in a secure office at the White House to discuss statements by Flynn and others "that we knew not to be the truth".

The congressional testimony Monday from Yates, an Obama administration holdover fired soon after for other reasons, marked her first public comments about the concerns she raised and filled in basic details about the chain of events that led to Flynn's ouster in February.

Flynn, a retired general, has emerged as a central figure in the Russian probes.

Both former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates declined to answer numerous most critical questions. The question of whether to fire Flynn was not her call to make, she added. She said she did not know what happened after that, because Trump fired her that day, January 30, after she said his executive order banning Muslim immigrants was unlawful and instructed Justice employees not to implement it.

Yates filled in new details of the events of January 26, describing contacting McGahn in the morning and telling him she had something sensitive to discuss in person.

Sally Yates didn't bring a smoking gun to the latest episode of the long-running political melodrama entwining the White House and Russian Federation.

Trump fired Yates after she defied the White House on the travel ban, a policy that Trump said would help protect Americans from Islamist militants. "But I'm also not aware of a situation where the Office of Legal Council was advised not to tell the Attorney General about it until after it was over". After patiently waiting for him to finish, Yates said that yes, she was familiar with the rule, but said it was an "arcane statute" that had nothing to do with the constitutional right to religious freedom (something she contends the Muslim ban denied). The White House has also tried to publicly minimize the contributions either to the campaign or administration of some of the individuals whose names have surfaced as part of the investigation, such as Manafort and Flynn. Since it was a Friday, Yates said she would consider it over the weekend.

OLC, Yates said, "has a narrow function" in the case of an executive order and did not take into account statements that might reveal the motivation for the executive order. Since then, three federal courts have blocked the order, and a similar subsequent order, as unlawful. But it seems that the president of the most powerful country, Donald Trump, did not want to be left behind when it comes to social media embarrassments.

Before she could present further evidence, the Obama Administration holdover was sacked by the President for refusing to defend his travel ban - while Flynn stayed on as National Security Adviser for another two and a half weeks. Second, she thought Pence should know that the information he was given wasn't accurate.

Flynn and Kislyak were in touch in late December, including on the 29th, the day the Obama administration levied sanctions in response to a determination by US intelligence agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin's government had interfered in the USA campaign in an effort aimed in part at helping Trump win.

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