Monday's Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime & Terrorism invited former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General testify under oath about a myriad of topics, with a particular focus on what C-SPAN described as "Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections."
Below are seven takeaways of interest to political and news media observers from yesterday's hearing.
1. ZERO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMPWORLD AND RUSSIA
When invited to offer evidence of collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign toward subverting last year’s presidential election, neither James Clapper nor Sally Yates could provide anything.
Democrats and their news media allies typically refrain from categorically stating they have no evidence to corroborate their narrative of "Election Hacking," mostly hedging their statements to claim a good faith pursuit of such evidence is still ongoing and may yet yield what they seek. An example of this trend was illustrated last week during a CNN interview with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) done by Wolf Blitzer, in which the California senator said she had no evidence of "collusion" between Donald Trump's political team and the Russian government "at this time," as if such evidence may be forthcoming in the future. Blitzer indulged Feinstein's innuendo, noting that "the investigation is continuing."
2. DEMOCRATS NEVER ASKED FOR EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMPWORLD AND RUSSIA
At no point in the hearing did any Democrat senators ask James Clapper or Sally Yates to provide evidence of collusion between Trump’s political team and the Russian state toward subverting last year’s presidential election.
Democrats and their news media allies are invested in preserving their narrative of a compromised 2016 presidential election and its concurrent ostensible congressional "investigation."
3. DEMOCRATS ARE COMMITTED TO THE #TRUMPRUSSIA NARRATIVE
Without exception, every attending Democrat senator did his or her part to push forward a narrative of last year’s presidential election having been compromised by Russian state interference. No inquiries were made of either James Clapper or Sally Yates regarding the Obama administration's federal surveillance of Donald Trump or his political associates during last year's presidential election season or during the post-election transition phase.
Also ignored by all Democrats were any inquiries into selective leaks to left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post to politically damage the Trump administration.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) suggested that Donald Trump is either financially beholden to or “compromised [and] corrupted” by Russian state and oligarchical interests. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) suggested that the Russian government was purchasing influence within the Trump administration via the acquisition of real estate with "shell corporations." Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) described alleged Russian interference attempts as "an existential threat to [American] democracy."
UNITED STATES - MAY 8: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, listens as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., questions former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates during the Senate Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election on Monday, May 8, 2017.
4. SUSAN RICE IS AWOL
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice refused a Senate invitation to testify alongside her fellow Obama administration alumni James Clapper and Sally Yates.
Rice’s lawyer, Kathryn H. Ruemmler, shared the letter of refusal with CNN, a news media ally complicit in advancing the Democrats’ narrative of a comprised 2016 presidential election. She wrote that her client would be willing to participate with congressional inquiries in a “classified session.”
In recent interviews with her news media allies at MSNBC/NBC, Rice has offered conflicting statements regarding the “unmasking” of “U.S. persons” whose communications were “incidentally intercepted” by the NSA in the context of federal surveillance of Donald Trump and his campaign-turned-transition team.
5. YATES IS BOOSTING HER ‘RESISTANCE’ PROFILE AMONG LEFTISTS AND DEMOCRATS
In her former capacity as acting Attorney General, Obama administration holdover Sally Yates refused to implement an executive order issued by Donald Trump restricting the admission of any foreign person who had recently been in seven Muslim-majority failed states designated as high-risk with respect to Islamic terrorism (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen).
Yates also directed the Department of Justice to ignore Trump’s executive order. Hours later, she was terminated by Trump.
During her Monday testimony, Yates framed her decision as rooted in adherence to the Constitution, alleging that the First Amendment restricted presidential authority over the calibration of immigration policy with respect to classes of aliens defined by nationality.
Left-wing news media Democrats including Matthew Dowd were quick to frame Yates as a political martyr:
6. THE MEDIA IS MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK
Both James Clapper and Sally Yates repeatedly claimed to have learned about perceived national security threats in news media reports. Both also claimed to have had their conduct shaped by information they obtained via their news media diets.
Although Monday’s hearing only saw two news media outlet specifically referred to (The Washington Post and The Guardian) previous congressional hearings ostensibly investigating alleged Russian political “interference” have seen regular references to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets as starting points of analysis and investigation.
What the late Andrew Breitbart described as the “Democrat Media Complex” exerts great influence on shaping the federal government’s agenda and perceptions in addition to public opinion.
7. THE IRONY IS THICK
Without any sense of irony or any provision of evidence, James Clapper described Russian propaganda as having effectively "directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process ... The Russians have to be celebrating the success of what they set out to do, with rather minimal resource expenditure. And the first objective was to sow discord and dissension, which they certainly did."
No comments were offered by either Democrats or Republicans on the undermining of Americans' confidence in their own political institutions via narratives pushed by Democrats and their allies in the news media and administrative bureaucratic state.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 8: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, listens to a Senators question during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election, on May, 08, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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