90 Miles From Tyranny : 4 Takeaways From Top Obama DOJ Official’s Testimony on ‘Rogue’ FBI

Thursday, August 6, 2020

4 Takeaways From Top Obama DOJ Official’s Testimony on ‘Rogue’ FBI

A top Obama Justice Department official told a Senate committee Wednesday that she wasn’t aware of many aspects of the FBI’s initial investigation of any connection between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and was shocked by others.

Sally Yates, deputy attorney general during the Obama administration, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about issues related to the beginning of the investigation of an alleged conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

At one point, Yates agreed with Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that then-FBI Director James Comey had “gone rogue” in investigating the Trump campaign. Yates was Comey’s superior at the Justice Department.

Here are four main points from Yates’ testimony about the investigation FBI agents called “Crossfire Hurricane.”

1. ‘If I Had Known’

Yates, testifying remotely, told the Judiciary Committee that she would not have approved the Justice Department’s application for a court warrant to spy on Carter Page, then a Trump campaign volunteer, had she been aware of “errors and omissions” in the application.

In a later investigation, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz determined that the application to surveil Page was based mostly on a discredited opposition-research document compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Yates said she “certainly was shocked” by the “conduct that was reflected” in the Horowitz report regarding the government’s request to a secretive federal court for a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“I believe that the Department of Justice and the FBI have a duty of candor with the FISA court,” the former deputy attorney general said.

Graham, the committee’s chairman, asked her: “Do you believe that they fulfilled that duty?”

“No, I do not believe that they did,” Yates replied.

Graham noted that Yates signed the FISA application in both October 2016 and January 2017.

“Knowing then what you know now, would you sign that application?” he asked.

After some give and take, she offered a definitive answer.

“I wouldn’t have signed anything that I knew contained errors or omissions,” Yates said.

Graham: “Did that contain errors and omissions?”

Yates: “Yes, and I would never knowingly sign a document. I didn’t do that in the 27 years—”

Yates, 59, first hired by the Justice Department as an assistant U.S. attorney in 1989, apparently was referring to her years of service there.

Graham: “I believe you didn’t know. I believe you didn’t know that what you signed was wrong. The question is if you had known, you wouldn’t have signed it. Is that correct?”

Yates: “No. If I had known it contained incorrect information, I certainly wouldn’t have signed it.”

Early in the hearing, Democrats railed against Graham for aggressive questioning of Yates. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., accused Graham of attacking Yates for being a woman.

But throughout the hearing, Graham insisted that he believed Yates didn’t knowingly do anything wrong.

“I’m not saying you lied to the court. I’m saying you signed something that was a lie and you didn’t know it,” Graham said. 

2. ‘Not Only Surprise Me, but Shock Me’

Yates also said it would “shock” her if anyone in the Justice Department actively took action to prevent Donald Trump from...

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1 comment:

  1. Graham is the best friend the Democrats could have in the Senate. I wish we could get a true conservative representing us in South Carolina. But we have open primaries and the Democrats here vote for Graham as the Republican candidate each time he's up for re-election.


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