Look at what has happened post-Sally Yates and James Clapper hearing of yesterday (SEE TWEETS ABOVE).
The administration is pushing the falsehood that both Clapper and Yates are confirming their position that there is no evidence of Trump team Russian cooperation.
This is what Trump tweeted about their testimony.
is his false spin having an impact? You bet. Today, on the weekly talk radio show in which I appear, one of his loyalists, a caller repeated the Trump talking points. On Facebook this morning, I am ready the same crud from his loyalists.
Overall, the arguments from Trump, his surrogates and many of his loyal supporters are as follows:
The democrats have nothing after nine months. They have no proof. Clapper has again stated so. The Russian interference claim is a hoax”
What a crock. And, here’s my response:
NINE MONTHS AND NOTHING
Nine months? I heard this attack all last night by the Trump talking heads and again this morning on talk radio. The truth is, we don’t have any clue what the FBI has discovered at this point in time and only a couple of months ago did we learn that they were formally engaged in a counter-intelligence investigation.
Yet, many of these same people had zero problems with a two-year investigation into Clinton and Benghazi or a shorter one into her email. For the record, I had no issue with the investigation and have no issue with Congress having a hearing on whether she lied to them.
In all fairness, the hearings have just started. We have only had a few witnesses, to date. None of the major alleged culprits have been questioned, and in fact, two of them, Carter Page and Michael Flynn appear to be running away from total or any cooperation.
CLAPPER SAYS HE KNOWS OF NO EVIDENCE
Trump, at face value, is correct. Trump and others have asserted that Clapper said in testimony that he has seen no evidence including the report that he referred to when questioned by NBC months ago. However, as I have been stating now since the Comey hearings on this issue and as Clapper said yesterday, Clapper cannot comment on the FBI investigation because that was not part of the information that he was asked to comment upon. Plus, neither he nor Yates would comment upon any information they believe to be classified.
Look at the testimony from yesterday in relevant parts:
CLAPPER: And as a consequence, I was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation Director Comey first referred to during his testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence on the 20th of March, and that comports with my public statements."s:
GRAHAM: Without objection. General Clapper, on March 5, 2017, you said the following to a question. Here's the question.
Does intelligence exist that can definitely answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials? You said we did not include any evidence in our report.
And I say our, that's the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything — that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.
Chuck Todd (ph) then asked, I understand that, but does it exist? You say no, not to my knowledge. Is that still accurate?
CLAPPER: It is.
GRAHAM: Ms. Yates, do you have any evidence — are you aware of any evidence that would suggest that in the 2016 campaign anybody in the Trump campaign colluded — colluded with the Russian government intelligence services in improper fashion?
YATES: And Senator, my answer to that question would require me to reveal classified information. And so, I — I can't answer that.
GRAHAM: Well, I don't get that because he just said he issued the report. And he said he doesn't know of any. So, what would you know that's not in the report?
CLAPPER: Are you asking me, or …
GRAHAM: No, her.
YATES: Well, I think that Director Clapper also said that he was unaware of the FBI counter intelligence investigations.
GRAHAM: Would it be fair to say that the counter-intelligence investigation was not mature enough to come to his — to get in the report. Is that fair, Mr. — Mr. Clapper?
CLAPPER: I — that's an — that's a possibility.
GRAHAM: What I don't get is how the FBI can have a counter- intelligence investigation suggesting collusion, and you, as director of National Intelligence not know about it, and the FBI sign on to a report that basically said there was no collusion.
CLAPPER: I can only speculate why that's so. There wasn't — the evidence, if there was any, didn't reach the evidentiary bar in terms of the level of confidence that we were striving for in that intelligence community assessment.
So, let’s be honest here. Is Clapper or Yates claiming they are aware of any evidence implicating Trump team? No, they are not. In fact, Yates went on to say a few times that her absence of comment should not be construed to assume there is any evidence. In short, she simply won’t discuss anything related to anything that is classified.
However, she did refer to Clapper’s statement that both she and Clapper were unaware of the FBI counter-intelligence report. And guess what? Nobody knows what the FBI knows and they aren’t talking, yet.
So, for Donald Trump and his surrogates to be spinning that this is FAKE News and that Clapper has confirmed such, that, quite frankly is either a false statement or worse, a lie.
Radio callers and some Facebook posters can be excused somewhat as they are being persuaded by Trump’s propaganda. However, he and his surrogates cannot.
The facts are clear to just about everyone with knowledge, but Trump and his team. The Russians did interfere, it is not China or some fat guy in New Jersey as Trump has espoused. This risk is real and it is a major national security concern. Worse, his comments defending himself and his team is hurting our nation’s efforts to protect us from future Russian involvement.
Whether there is any Trump team involvement is a totally separate issue. There absolutely are facts that have been reported thmakekes the argument that there is something there, there. But, so far, there are no facts that have been tested under judicial or Congressional, yet.
That does not mean facts won’t emerge nor that they will.
Instead of Trump taking the lead in trying to discover what might have happened with the Russian invasion into our elections, he is doing whatever he can to thwart it, even calling it Fake.
Whether he honestly believes the issue of Trump-Russian involvement is bogus, that has nothing to do with the broader issue—who interfered with our elections and how can we best deal with any future occurrences?
Unfortunately, Trump does not want to discuss this issue or shed light on any of the findings because it implicates the more personal question involving his own election team and administration.
I call this refusal to protect this country from foreign intrusions very frightening and repugnant to America’s best interests.
For me, his behavior is utterly unAmerican.