Today's Hearings: Senators Go HULK SMASH At Zip-Lipped Intel Chiefs Refusing To Give Up The Precious
WOW! That hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee was somethin' else! It was, in theory, a hearing about FISA surveillance, but what most of the senators wanted to talk about was all the reporting that says Donald Trump made inappropriate advances toward his intel chiefs, specifically NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, to try to get them to shut off the FBI investigation into Trump's ties with Russia. The men testifying -- Rogers and Coats, as well as acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- did NOT want to talk about that.
In particular, Rogers and Coats stuck to lame, pre-scripted answers, and refused to confirm or deny whether Trump tried to use them to obstruct justice. This caused FIGHTS with the senators, who were done with that shit before the hearing even started.
Here is Rogers's pre-scripted non-answer to a question from Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the committee:
I am not going to discuss the specifics of any interactions that I may or may not have had with the president of the United States, but I will make the following comment: In the three-plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical, or inappropriate. And to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so.
This is a refrain we would hear OVER AND OVER again throughout the hearing, and can you see how it is some highly lawyered horseshit? He has never been "directed" or "ordered" to do anything bad, and he has not personally felt pressured. But did Trump ask him to do anything to lean on James Comey to kill the FBI investigation? Haha, this statement does not address that question.
Warner reminded Rogers that the committee has "facts, that there were other individuals that were aware of the call that was made to you [from Trump], aware of the substance of that call, and that there was a memo prepared, because of concerns about that call." Rogers refused to respond.
Warner turned to Dan Coats, to see if he could confirm or deny the press reports that Trump tried to tamper with him, since he had promised before the Armed Services Committee that he would be willing to address all that before the Intel Committee. This was the reply from Coats:
*PROLONGED OLD MAN GRUNT*
OK, Coats said more words than that, but his basic answer was that, even though he said before he would yip-yap some information at them, he did not think it would be appropriate to yip-yap that information now, because it's a SECRET.
Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, weighed in on Twitter:
So, you think this pissed off some senators? You betcha! Instead of going through each and every one, let's focus on Senators Angus King and Martin Heinrich, of Maine and New Mexico respectively, because both of them went kinda apeshit and it was super fun.
King wanted to know all WHY all these ding dongs couldn't share their conversations with Trump or James Comey. First, to Andrew McCabe, he asked "Why not, do you not remember them?" and got all pissy, asking if there's a "legal basis" for why McCabe can talk to the special counsel, but can't give straight answers to the Senate Intelligence Committee. ZING!
But then it was time for him to go after Rogers:
Why not answering Qs?
Rogers: “I feel it is inappropriate, senator”
King: “What you FEEL isn’t relevant, admiral” https://t.co/Ir3X5Iiwnh
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 7, 2017
KING: Why are you not answering these questions? Is there an invocation by the president of the United States of executive privilege? Is there or not?
ROGERS: Not that I'm aware of.
KING: Then why are you not answering our questions?
ROGERS: Because I feel it is inappropriate, Senator.
KING: What you FEEL isn't relevant, Admiral! What you FEEL isn't the answer ... Why are you not answering the questions? Is it an invocation of executive privilege? If there is, then let's know about it. If there isn't, ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
ANGUS KING SMASH. The whole exchange was just fucking amazing, please watch it right now, because he gets all up in their shit asking them how the fuck they're going to call it "classified" whether or not the president tried to interfere with their investigations. He even got Coats to admit that he had no "legal basis" for staying silent.
Now let's watch Martin Heinrich talk about about how he, also too, does not give a fuck about these dumb boys' "feelings," and would rather like to know DID TRUMP DO THAT SHIT?
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 7, 2017
HEINRICH: I don't care how you "felt." I'm not asking whether you "felt" pressured. I'm simply asking DID THAT CONVERSATION OCCUR?
COATS: And once again, Senator, I will say that I do believe it's inappropriate for me to discuss that in an open session.
HEINRICH: You realize -- and obviously, this is not releasing any classified information -- but you realize how simple it would simply be to say, "No, that never happened." Why is it "inappropriate," Director Coats?
COATS: I think that conversations between the president and myself are for the most part ...
HEINRICH: You seem to apply that standard selectively.
COATS: No I'm not applying it selectively, I'm just saying I don't think it's appropriate ...
HEINRICH: You could clear an awful lot up by simply saying that never happened.
IT HAPPENED. Or as Heinrich concluded, "I think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes."
Like we said, lots of senators were pissed off. John McCain said it was "Orwellian" that Coats wouldn't discuss something that's IN THE FUCKING NEWSPAPER, because he thinks it's "inappropriate." If you want to watch more videos of pissed off senators, go to the Twitter feed of MSNBC's Kyle Griffin, because he posts EVERYTHING.
We're not sure why none of these dudes would answer a fucking question. They all seemed to be hellbent on punting to James Comey's testimony tomorrow, because we guess he's safe to speak freely. Maybe they saw what happened to Comey when he testified honestly and openly, and they're shutting the hell up to preserve the integrity of their investigation, lest Baby Trump in the White House get pissed off and start firing people. Maybe they're all being part of the cover-up!
Whatever it was, it was aggravating as hell.
We'll close with a bonus video of Senator Kamala Harris being a badass and going after Rod Rosenstein, trying to make sure special prosecutor Robert Mueller is safe in his job and has the "authority to be fully independent," and that he's not going to get fired for #reasons. Specifically, she wanted Rosenstein to put that IN WRITING. Rosenstein wasn't answering the question, so committee chairman Richard Burr
told him to answer the fucking question SHUSHED HER OH MY GOD, and then he delivered a soliloquy about how everybody needs to BE SWEET.
When Rosenstein resumed his answer, he too delivered a soliloquy about honesty and integrity and Janet Reno for some reason, and did not answer Harris's question. When he was finished talking, Harris simply replied, "So is that a no?"
I asked Deputy AG Rosenstein to commit in writing that Mueller has full independence. The American people deserve it. pic.twitter.com/0Wi5o2d5Th
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 7, 2017
And now yr Wonkette, just like Kamala Harris and Angus King and Martin Heinrich, is DONE WITH THESE FOOLS.
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