Sally Yates, the insubordinate DOJ official who was forced out early in the Trump administration, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. As per our usual arrangement, it was a spectacle of uselessness and partisanship, with Republicans often being too scared to push her while Democrats went full bore in obstructing any information being elicited.
Ted Cruz was one of the lone exceptions, using his time to grill Yates on questions that she’s never been forced to fully answer. One exchange got heated surrounding spying on Donald Trump’s campaign.
Townhall provides some excerpts.
“Ms. Yates, when did you first become aware that the Obama Administration was surveilling the Donald Trump campaign?” Cruz asked.
“The Obama Administration was not surveilling the Donald Trump campaign,” Yates replied.
That’s a lie and she knows it. She’s attempting to play semantics and Cruz calls her on it.
“So a FISA application is not surveillance,” Cruz followed up.
Yates said the FISA warrants were for Carter Page who was no longer a member of the Trump campaign.
“So your testimony is that the investigation into Carter Page had nothing to do with the Donald Trump campaign? Cruz asked.
“No, you asked me if we were surveilling the campaign…,” Yates began to respond.
“You don’t get it both ways. Is it the campaign or not?” Cruz interjected.
“Senator, I’m trying to give you what is the accurate information here. Carter Page was a former member of the Trump campaign at the time that the FISA was initiated,” Yates said, adding the reason for the FISA warrants were started for a “number of reasons. First, we had gotten information…that the Russians had made the overture that they wanted to be able to assist the Trump campaign.”
Again, she’s dancing around what matters. FISA warrants are retroactive. Yes, Carter Page was no longer part of the campaign, but that warrant was used to spy on the campaign, including digging through emails and communications. Yates knows this, but she wants to play games and pretend that the FISA warrant both had something to do with the Trump campaign but also wasn’t spying on the Trump campaign. As Cruz notes, you can’t have it both ways.
“Now hold on, you said it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign,” Cruz said.
“I said that he was not a member of the Trump campaign at the time that we initiated the FISA,” Yates replied.
That’s wasn’t the question though. Cruz would go on to lambast her performance, noting that she continued to play dumb anytime something controversial was brought up. This was supposedly a top DOJ official but her excuse is that she was essentially clueless of everything that was going on.
“I seem to detect a pattern here. Ms. Yates, she testifies she had no idea what her deputy was doing as he facilitates contact between political party opposition research and the FBI,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) stated. “She has no idea that these applications that signed materially misled a federal court, just as [Rod] Rosenstein said he had no idea. Nobody appears to know anything in this government and yet somehow a federal court was deliberately and systemically misled so severely that they now say they can’t trust anything the FBI did. If this does not call for a cleaning of house at DOJ and the FBI, I don’t know what is.”
Here’s the video.
Yates is a partisan hack. This is the same woman who wrote numerous anti-Trump op-eds for papers like The Washington Post. She signed off on the FISA warrant for Carter Page, something she now claims she wouldn’t have done knowing what she knows now. But it was her job to know everything back then before putting her signature on a warrant that would allow the surveillance of a political campaign.
Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham, whom I’ve tried to give the benefit of the doubt to, is the worst person to lead this investigation. In his opening statement, he actually praised Yates. Throughout the day, he let her off the hook numerous times. If Graham is not going to actually seek justice, then he should shut this nonsense down and stop wasting everyone’s time.