Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
Clapper: Putin did it to demean Clinton and help elect Trump


May 15, 2017

By Juliette Kayyem

(CNN)So much has been written about former acting Attorney General Sally Yates since President Donald Trump fired her in January for declining to enforce his travel ban, that her testimony to a Senate judiciary subcommittee Monday was met with great anticipation. Few had ever actually heard her voice.

And as a headliner she did not disappoint. In the hearing -- on Russian meddling in the US election -- she described her direct contacts, in calls and meetings, with the White House and White House counsel Donald McGahn, and her growing concerns about the potential that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could be compromised because of his undisclosed contacts with the Russians.

Calm and direct, she invoked the Constitution to argue that her concerns were pressing because they involved Vice President Michael Pence and whether he had been lied to. And she easily dispatched gotcha questions from Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
But she did not steal the show.

That was left to James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence. In his direct opening, and his clarifying questioning, he deployed his typical composure (along with a hint of annoyance that he was drawn out of retirement for this) to answer key questions and put to rest some lingering suspicions about the investigation.
First, Clapper made clear he was not a talking point.

For several weeks, the White House and many of its supporters have used Clapper's statement in previous testimony -- that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia -- to argue that there, in fact, was no evidence of collusion. That original statement by Clapper, however, was tempered today with a major concession: he told the subcommittee that he did not even know of the FBI investigation that FBI Director James Comey disclosed, publicly, on March 10, into whether there was collusion to influence the election.

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