House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes appears to have shut down today’s Russia hearing in order to censor the testimony of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Yates, you’ll recall, notified the Trump White House in January that ex- Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was lying about a secret conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. It took the White House weeks before they finally fired Flynn, ostensibly for the lie.
According to NBC News, Yates notified Congress on Friday that she planned to testify about Flynn and Russia. Within hours, committee chair Nunes canceled the entire hearing.
It now seems clear that Nunes canceled the hearing on behalf of Trump. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, noted today, suggests that Trump didn’t want to assert executive privilege, lest it look like he had something to hide, so he had Nunes cancel the hearing entirely. As Yates wasn’t the only person testifying, the White House and Nunes hoped that no one would figure out why it was canceled.
The Washington Post has more. Yates and former CIA director John Brennan had planned to offer testimony contradicting assertions made by the Trump administration:
Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The following day, when Yates’s lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.
As Democratic House member Eric Swalwell said on Morning Joe this morning, this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like:
“This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 28, 2017
Nunes clearly thinks he’s doing Trump a favor. And in the short-term, he probably is. But by covering up Yates’ (and Brennan’s) testimonies, Nunes is only furthering the scent of scandal permeating the entire Trump White House.
Nunes is already in hot water for his bizarre claim last week, since partly retracted, that he’d seen evidence that Trump and his staff were wiretapped. We then found out the next day that Nunes may have only seen evidence that foreign nationals were recorded talking about Trump and his staff. But even that evidence still has not been show to Nunes’ fellow members of the House or Senate Intelligence committees, lending credence to the theory that Nunes simply made the entire thing up, again at the behest of Donald Trump.
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