Sunday, August 09, 2020

Huge News


I really don't get how they're so bad at this: announcing that he's planning to issue an order advising that something that has been the law for the past 10 years is, in fact, the law (though Trump's Justice Department will be arguing sometime in November, against Trump's Health and Human Services Department, that the law including the pre-existing conditions coverage part of it is unconstitutional, and urging the Supreme Court to strike it down), and expecting I don't know what kind of acclaim.

But the most abysmal example of the week in that unspeakable phony cornpone Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), with his flabby eunuch's face and Grand Ole Opry hair, quizzing the former acting attorney general in the Senate Judiciary hearing on the Russia Hoax, or origins of the deadly FBI conspiracy to take   advantage of the pesky Russian effort to install Donald Trump as president as an excuse for uninstalling him:

Senator Kennedy: (02:18:20)
You don’t like Donald Trump, do you?

Sally Yates: (02:18:24)
I don’t respect the manner in which he has carried out the Presidency.

Senator Kennedy: (02:18:28)
Okay. You despise Donald Trump, don’t you?

Sally Yates: (02:18:31)
No, I don’t despise anyone, Senator.

Senator Kennedy: (02:18:34)
Okay. Isn’t it true that there were a handful of people at the FBI that despised Donald Trump and wanted to do everything they could do to keep him from being president?

Sally Yates: (02:18:51)
I can’t speak as to what other people despised Donald Trump.

Senator Kennedy: (02:18:56)
Were you part of that group?

Sally Yates: (02:18:59)
No, Senator I was not.

Senator Kennedy: (02:19:01)
Isn’t it true that there were a handful of people at the Department of Justice during the Obama administration that despised Donald Trump and did everything in their power to keep him from being president?

Sally Yates: (02:19:14)
I’m not aware of anyone at the Department of Justice doing anything to try to keep Donald Trump from becoming President. That would be have been inconsistent-

Senator Kennedy: (02:19:21)
Were you part of that group? I’m sorry, were you a part of that group?

His interrogation technique is basically: on no account listen to anything the witness says, it will only confuse you.

Kennedy also seems to think the deputy attorney general is obliged to personally duplicate all the FBI's investigative work before signing off on a FISA application, 

Senator Kennedy: 02:21:12
Go ahead. My question was, isn’t it a fact that the Steele dossier’s junk?

Sally Yates: (02:21:17)
I think that there is certainly evidence now, but there was not at the time, that calls into question the reliability of many portions of the Steele dossier. I have [inaudible 00:13:27]-

Senator Kennedy: (02:21:26)
Okay. Did you check to see if it was junk before you signed off on the FISA application?

Sally Yates: (02:21:34)
Senator, the affidavit that was provided by the FBI sets forth the factual basis. We rely upon the FBI to be the fact finders in the FISA process-

Senator Kennedy: (02:21:45)
[crosstalk 02:21:45] So, you didn’t independently check?

Sally Yates: (02:21:48)
No, sir. I did not independently fact check, and I’m not exactly sure how I would go about doing individual-

Senator Kennedy: (02:21:53)
Let me be sure I understand. You signed off on two of the applications. You’re asking for permission to surveil somebody who is close to a candidacy for the President of the United States in one instance, and in the second instance actually was the President of the United States. You took no independent steps to see if the Steele dossier was accurate? Is that your testimony?

Sally Yates: (02:22:35)
Senator, I’m sorry. I’m not following your question when you talk about who was the subject of the FISA application.

Senator Kennedy: (02:22:40)
Let me try to be clearer. The Steele dossiers was critical to at least several of the FISA applications, one of which you signed off on. You said that to get the … Let me finish my question. You said that the Steele dossier, with hindsight, may not have been completely accurate. You’re investigating a President of the United States and you didn’t check to see if it was accurate?

and to labor under the mistaken belief that the FBI took out FISA orders not only on Carter Page, PhD, but also on Donald Trump, and to believe that this happened after Trump was already president, which means he is so far behind the curve that he really should have stayed home. It's nice how Yates takes her turn to pretend she doesn't hear ("I'm not following your question"), but Kennedy just doubles down. Yates tells him very carefully that Trump was not the object of any surveillance order, only "an individual... who was not a current member of the campaign", i.e. Page, and goes through the Woods process in which every fact in the affidavit is documented by the FBI and the DOJ's National Security Division (all the mistakes in the Page application involved information that had been left out, not information that had been put in), and Kennedy replies

Senator Kennedy: (02:26:21)
Could you just tell me every step you took to verify that the accuracy of the Steele dossier?

Sally Yates: (02:26:2102:26:09) I relied upon the FBI as the fact-finders here, and the lawyers in the National Security Division to vet the accuracy of the FI’s application. My job-

Senator Kennedy: (02:26:21) All of whom hated Trump, right?

I can't even.

There's lots more to say about the Yates hearing, but I'm taking a break.

To be continued. Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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