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4 comments for “Yates: ‘You don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians’

  1. Joe
    05/09/2017 at 1:43 PM

    Some observations on the hearing, in no particular order:

    • Huckleberry Graham did a partially OK job at running the hearing. He got off into the unmasking weeds a few times, but otherwise was way better than I thought he would be.
    • I can’t say that for the rest of the repubs, with the exception of Ben Sasse. They threw acre-feet of dust into the air, in an attempt to confuse the issue. Who leaked to the WaPo, rather than what they leaked, was all that mattered to the R-Team. High-dudgeon was on prominent display about the manifest illegality of leaking the truth. None of them took issue with the facts in the leak, but all of them were really angry and vengeful about the truth coming out. That attitude was a stark advertisement for an independent commission, and soon. The R-Team is all-in on covering for Trump. You didn’t have to watch much of the hearing to discern that.
    • Texas politicians are among the stupidest anywhere. Yates absolutely bludgeoned Cruz and Cornyn. They took such a schooling that they left before the second round of questions. Sally prepared. They didn’t. It showed. Cruz tried to trap Yates by misleadingly quoting statute. Yates pounced, reading off her notes the law that updated the one that Cruz tried to slip over on her. It was a beautiful moment. Cruz, who reminds me of a toxic hybrid of a used-Yugo salesman and an over-oiled funeral director, got spanked. That yutz was 2nd in line for the nomination!
    • Cornyn fared no better when he asked Yates why she would put the law above the president w/regards to Muslims. Sally was ready and gave Cornyn a constitutional primer on what the AG does and followed it up with a wet fish-slap across Cornyn’s face. She pointed out to him (paraphrasing) that when he asked her at her confirmation hearing if she would obey the constitution and bust the president, if necessary, she had said yes. And then she pointed out that was what she was doing. And then she thanked Cornyn for voting for her. I think Cornyn and Cruz bailed early to go audition for the Boys’ choir. Both of their voices went noticeably soprano during the hearing. The lesson is “Do not mess with Sally Yates. It will not end well.”
    • John Kennedy(R-LA), heir to the Senate seat once owned by Diaper-David Vitter, got nuked by Clapper. Clapper pointed out dryly, when asked if he had ever leaked unclassified documents, that there is no such thing. If it is not classified, it is public property. The crowd laughed their asses off. Kennedy went back to nattering about who leaked the unquestioned fact that Flynn was a Russian plant. Then he just shut up and was not heard from again.
    • The overall takeaway from the hearing was that Yates had the goods on Flynn, charged up the hill to alert Trump’s lawyer (twice) and then was summarily fired, in very Archibald Cox-like fashion. A scoop dropped just before the hearing that Obama personally alerted Trump to the situation the day after the election. Yet Flynn stayed on until he was busted in the WaPo, and likely would still be there if the leak had not happened. Trump has exactly no plausible deniability to fall back on.

    The hearing reinforced my feeling that Trump is on borrowed time. It certainly appears that the Gov. has tons of evidence, and is looking to drop it, after making absolutely sure it is hard. When they do, it will light off a supernova well worth watching.

    Comey is a cipher. He got caught yesterday wildly exaggerating, under oath, how many e-mails Weiner had on his laptop, which caused him to pearl-clutch his way to sabotaging the Hildebeest’s election . Yet the FBI certainly appears to be playing this straight w/respect to Flynn. I don’t know what to make of all of this.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      05/09/2017 at 2:51 PM

      Points all well-taken. Hard to say what to make of it all (the hearings, the full extent of Russia’s role, the full relationship between Trump & Russia).

      The GOP does not lack for intelligent politicians, staffers, and operatives, but their work is and has been astonishingly weak this last year. Even five or ten years ago, one might have expected a closer balance between the quality of the two parties’ representatives at a key hearing, even if one supported one side’s position.

      Years ago, growing up in a libertarian family, one often heard admiration for the discipline and rigor – if not the ideas – of the neo-conservatives of the late ’70s (long before those of the early 2000s). Those of that earlier group read deeply, prepped carefully, and delivered solid cases that demanded a detailed response.

      These Republicans are nothing like that. The preparation and clarity of thought is simply stronger among Democrats on these committees. House, Senate, time and again: the GOP delivers a strikingly weaker case. (If every GOP senator were no better than Hannity, that would be understandable. Many of them, however, are from highly competitive backgrounds, but what they pour is weak tea. They’ve played so poorly for so they’ve no good game left.)

      Cruz is almost funny: one hears how reputedly clever he was in law school, but not once in all the ’16 campaign did I hear him make a single argument (of any kind) that demonstrated significant intellectual power. Yates over-matched him, as you say, and partisan attempts to rehabilitate Cruz afterward are unavailaing. In one way, there is no afterward: you’re either ready intellectually and in prepartion at the time of the hearing, or you’re a disappointmet to your cilent, cause, or institution.

      Whatever difference would it make – now – how he answered as a 1L years ago? Yates clocked him yesterday, on matters far more important than a previous day’s reading in torts or contracts.

      This takes nothing away from Yates. On the contrary, she would have been impressive even with a better prepared interlocutor (as she was with questions better than Cruz’s).

      Republicans have been politically effective recently, to be sure, but effectiveness without intellectual rigor is winning on borrowed time. (Well, one hopes, at least.)

      Cipher says it nicely about Comey. Is he sometimes (too often) imprecise but nonetheless well-intentioned and committed?

      I’d settle for sometimes imprecise for the sake of an investigation that’s well-intentioned and committed.

  2. Joe
    05/09/2017 at 3:43 PM

    Perhaps the Republicans are suffering from a paucity of plausible excuses for Trump?? He isn’t giving them a lot to work with. It is difficult to come up with good-sounding ways to defend the roiling, methane-belching cesspool that is the Trump administration and family (mostly one and the same).

    At some point, and Graham seems to be getting close, they will have to decide between their political future and Trump’s. I sense that won’t be all that long. It is poor political tradecraft to unquestioningly support a guy that is averaging about a scandal a day. Even hardened veterans of the Nixon and ‘lil Bush administrations know that…

    I’m suspecting that it will not be too long until you hear a sound like an airliner toilet flushing, and the R-team support will fade to evanescence. Should that not happen, 2018 will be vicious, and they already know that. We shall see at what level self-preservation trumps tribal loyalty.

    • JOHN ADAMS
      05/10/2017 at 9:36 AM

      Here’s hoping sooner rather than later. Perhaps Trump’s ceaseless assaults against the constitutional order will precipitate a quicker resolution.