Everybody ready for some Senate-Judiciary Trump-Russia Sally Yates whatever-other-SEO-terms-should-be-here LIVEBLOG? US TOO! Even though it is Evan’s day off and we’re not sure it’s even ALLOWED for us to handle the midday-drunk-typing, and also we’re gonna need a drink!
Be right back!
The question on everyone’s lips of course, is will Donald Trump shit himself in rage, or in fear? Which shitting shall it be???
2:33 PM: Lindsey Graham opens the hearing by calling Russia “no good” about 50 hundred times and enunciating their manifold crimes against us. Did you know you shouldn’t like Russia trying to fuck our elections EVEN if it helps Republicans? So weird. Oh yeah, “also we’ll talk about unmasking, since my fellow Republicans are pretty sure they can turn this whole thing around to be a slam on sneaky evil wire-tappping Democrats, which they can’t.”
2:42 PM: Oooooh, Sheldon Whitehouse brings up Felix Sater — a convicted felon with ties to the grand dragon poobah of Russian Mafiosi, who worked with Trump for YEARS getting Russian investors. Trump? Yeah, doesn’t know him.
2:48 PM: James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, is testifying first. He said in March he’d seen “no evidence” of Trump Russia collusion. Now he will briefly address this 52-page list of topics. BRING US YATES YOU FUCKERS.
2:50 PM: James Clapper wants to remind you, Senator Lindsey, that although Putin hacked the RNC as well as the DNC, he declined to release any stolen Republican emails through his BFF Julian Assange at Wikileaks. (And don’t forget Paul Ryan and pals in the House made good use of stolen emails from their opponents as well!)
2:55 PM: James Clapper says, approximately, “unmasking is fine Jesus Christ shut up about it you big fucking liars with your unmasking lies!” But he doesn’t use exclamation points, because he is extremely ancient and a yell might kill him dead.
3:00 PM: I THINK James Clapper just said it was his bad that he pooh-poohed Trump Russia collusion, because he didn’t know about the FBI investigation into just that very thing, but I don’t know how to rewind my sister-in-law’s TV, so we’ll have to mark that “unproved.”
And it’s YATES TIME! She sounds like she could be played by Sandra Bullock doing her Texas “Blind Side” thang.
Yates says she ain’t gonna say shit she ain’t authorized to leak in public, or are part of ongoing investigations, she is a serious person of seriousness, not some kinda Republican shitbird.
3:06 PM: Dianne Feinstein: “Hey lady, what’s up with the shitbirds in the White House? You see this crazy shit about President Bamz TOLD Trump not to hire the crazy dick?” (Direct quote.)
3:10 PM: Lindsey Graham: “Yo James Clapper, you still stand by that nonsense about no Trump Russia collusion?” Clapper: “Ayup.”
Lindsey: “Same question to you, lady.”
Yates: “Classified, can’t answer.”
Lindsey: “The fuck you think is wrong with Clapper, Yates? Think he ain’t know nothin’?”
Yates: “Probs yeah.”
3:11 PM: Lindsey: “Give us the dirt, Yates. Give us ALLLLL the dirt. The fuck was up with this grifter Mike Flynn?”
Yates: “I had a meeting with Don McGahn, the White House ‘council.’ Everything you ask me ’bout whether I unmasked this fucker is classified, never gonna tell you nope.”
Lindsey wants to know if we’ll be able to find out who unmasked poor, persecuted Mike Flynn, but moves on eventually. Yates “walked the White House counsel” through all the shit they knew about Flynn being a big ol’ Russia-talker who was talkin’ to Russia, and he’d been caught “lying” to Mike Pence. They were very clear that they weren’t accusing Pence of lying to the public on purpose, heavens no!
Well, that’s one of you, lady.
3:17 PM: Lindsey gets to the heart of this whole thing: Were Trump or his associates netted in incidental collection during the election? Clapper: Nah bro. Yates: Not tellin’.
3:20 PM: Sheldon Whitehouse: Miz Yates, was Don McGahn worried you were going to put Mike Flynn in jail?
Yates: Oh, hell yeah.
3:25 PM: Yates: “To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security advisor compromised by the Russians.” Boy howdy nope!
3:30 PM: Chuck Grassley knows what is important, and that is that someone leaked THE TRUTH to the Washington Post, which meant that poor Mike Flynn didn’t get to be NSA anymore :(
3:30 PM: Chuck Grassley: Did you request an unmasking of Mr. Trump or his associates?
James Clapper: As a matter of fact, lemme think about it, YUP SURE DID.
James Clapper gonna go to unmasking JAIL!
Here is what “unmasking” is and why Clapper is NOT GUILTY HOORAY!
You could do the whole Ron Burgundy "Go fck yourself, San Diego" prank by handing a piece of paper to Grassley. Please, someone, do that.
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) May 8, 2017
3:50 PM: Everybody got home and they are FULL OF BEANS and also TALKING and mama can no longer hear SHIT! Dok shall take over for you NOW!
3:55 PM: John Cornyn is getting to the really important stuff: Why did Sally Yates decide, all by herself, that Trump’s Muslim Ban I was unconstitutional? This may be a hearing on Russian interference in the election, but just who is this crazy woman and why does she think she can buck her boss, the President of the United States? He’s only askin’.
4:00 Dick Durbin of Illinois just reminded everyone that three federal judges agreed that Muslim Ban I was indeed unconstitutional, but failed to point out they were all liars who hate Trump, and bad judges. Then he pointed out that it’s awfully weird the Senate’s Russia investigation doesn’t have a single full-time staffer assigned to it. Then he got back to the actual questions about Flynn and wire tapps and stuff. We believe John Cornyn’s shin just got kicked.
4:02 Sally Yates is smarter than to speculate how Sean Spicer comes up with his ideas. Not going there.
4:05 Sally Yates can’t comment on why it took 18 days after her warning for the Trump administration to shed Mike Flynn, because, as you’ll recall, she was fired January 30.
4:03 Holy shit it’s Ted Cruz, someone get us a barf bag, and is he fucking asking about Huma Fucking Abedin? Good lord. Now THIS is some investigatin’!
4:05 Fuck you Ted Cruz, fuck you Ted Cruz, fuck you Ted Cruz. Hey, let’s ask about Whitewater, while we’re at it.
4:06 Miss Yates, would you eat green eggs and ham on a boat? Would you eat them with a goat? Would you eat them while openly defying the constitutional authority of the President of the United States?
4:08 And once more, we’re litigating Yate’s decision not to defend Muslim Ban I. And Yates just owned Cruz: You know what? Usually the writing of an executive order doesn’t shut out the attorney general, acting or otherwise. Cruz: It sure would if you’re a big ol’ DEMOCRAT!
4:12 Damn, we really thought this hearing was supposed to be about Flynn and Russia. Instead, we’re going to try Sally Yates for failure to follow the president’s orders, even if they’re illegal.
4:15 Sally Yates would definitely not say she merely gave the White House a “heads up,” and that she didn’t leave any doubt Flynn had been talking to Russia, not to a 400 pound man on a bed in New Jersey. And she made it clear he was open to blackmail.
4:20 Amy Klobuchar would like to ask about shell corporations and money laundering done with shady real estate deals. Not that any particular real estate is under discussion here. Also, hey, wouldn’t an independent commission be useful in preventing foreign interference in our elections. James Clapper seems to think the focus really should be on the Russian interference in the 2016 election, for some reason, instead of all the other directions this circus has been going.
4:22 Republican Ben Sasse is actually asking cogent questions about the Russian hacks. Didn’t he get the memo that the goal here is to go off on tangents?
4:25 Clapper is chuckling at the characterization of Julian Assange as a journalist. Is he protected by the First Amendment? Can we torture him? Err, treat him as something other than a journalist?
4:28 Rebecca in the Sekrit Chatcave: “Ben Sasse acquitted himself well, spoke in proper, grammatical clauses, and didn’t totally avoid the topic. One to fear 2020 I think.”
4:30 Clapper is not going along with Chris Coons’s question about whether “certain alt-right websites” (he means BREITBART) amplified Russian fake news operation. That’s a question for domestic intelligence. Also, who wants to even read Breitbart?
4:32 Yates simply can’t answer any of these detailed questions about what she told Team Trump about Flynn. How seriously did the White House take her warning? Well, she doesn’t know exactly what they did, but she doesn’t know whether they actually did anything. But if she hadn’t been fired, and she knew nothing was happening, she’d have brought it up again.
4:40 Oh, thank goodness, we’re back to Yates and the Muslim Ban, because clearly THAT tells us a whole lot about national security. Yates notes that if Congress passed a law she thought was unconstitutional, she wouldn’t send DOJ lawyers to defend it. Dear Crom, are the Rs really going to spend all their time cross-examining Yates? “With all due respect, Who appointed YOU to the Supreme Court,” lady? Fuck you, baby Senator Kennedy from Louisiana.
4:42 Have you ever leaked information, classified or unclassified, to the press? Cornyn: If it’s unclassified, it’s not a “leak.” And everyone laughs at the aggressively stupid senator from Louisiana.
4:45 Patrick Leahy seems to think refusing to defend an unconstitutional law is somehow admirable. How partisan!
4:47 Leahy is saying something, but all we can hear is Grandpa Simpson complaining he’s missing “Matlock.” This is quite unfair of us, we realize.
4:52 Al Franken! He sure pauses a lot for a comedian! Hey, why DID the Russians decide they liked Trump so much?
4:56 General Clapper, since you retired, have you felt the need to go on Russia Today? That’s sort of weird how Flynn did that, huh?
.@SenFranken: "General, since you've retired, have you appeared on Russia Today?"
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 8, 2017
Also, in the very first meeting, since Yates laid out Flynn was lying, why do you suppose the White House Counsel didn’t seem to understand it was a big deal that one White House staffer lied to another. Who was the Vice President? And why would Justice find that relevant? Franken thinks this is clearly a matter of concern, for some reason. So uptight, these Dems.
4:58 Maybe the reason nobody in the White House thought Flynn lying about the Russians was no biggie was that every third person in the administration was talking to the Russians, too. “Care to comment?” Larffs!
5:00 Mr. Blumenthal of Connecticut wants an independent commission AND a special prosecutor. Instead he’ll get Devin Nunes in a clown suit and be told to stop making a fuss.
5:05 Let’s list all the ways Mike Flynn could go to the pokey!
5:07 As a private citizen, wouldn’t you like to see a special counsel appointed? “Not gonna go there, Senator.” How about as an expert witness for this committee? As a dessert topping? A Floor wax?
5:10 Hawaii’s Maisie Hirono would like to know precisely how full of shit Sean Spicer is in contending that Barack Obama should’ve vetted Mike Flynn better for Donald Trump. James Clapper explains that, in general, a security clearance is very different from an investigation for a White House job. But he doesn’t have any special information about what Flynn’s background check included.
5:13 Clapper will not comment on Donald Trump’s Tweets, because there are some shows he’d rather not watch.
5:15 Can we all agree cover-ups are bad? Welp, we can’t agree that babies deserve medical attention, so maybe not.
This hearing summed up in one gif. pic.twitter.com/NuubQJhdlr
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 8, 2017
5:18 Lindsey Graham is taking us into the Lightning Round, and this will eventually end, since there’s a vote at 5:30. Do we know who unmasked the conversation between Flynn and the Russians? How did the information get to the Washington Post? Who put the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder?
5:20 Sheldon Whitehouse clarifies, once again, that having a security clearance from the Department of Defense is not the same as being vetted for national security adviser, so there. Also, now he’s just trying to talk fast to trip up the stenographer. Not gonna happen.
5:25 Chuck Grassley will now take the remainder of the hearing asking something incoherent about unmasking. Maybe Clapper could answer it in a classified briefing. Someone PLEASE slip Grassley the “Fuck You, San Diego” cue card!
5:28 With time winding down, James Clapper says continued investigation will be educational for the public. Perhaps it could be a reality series! Or an actual independent commission, outside of Congress, please, please?
5:30 Amy Klobuchar: are Americans well educated on Russian disinformation? Why should that topic be different from any other?
5:33 Oh God it’s Kennedy from Louisiana being a damn idiot again. How did Flynn get a security clearance in the past if “they” knew in December 2016 he’d been talking to the Russians? The whole point here is that the Trump administration didn’t vet him, you chowderhead. Now let’s yell at Yates more about that executive order.
5:39 Lindsey Graham is glad we all know more about what Russia did to our election in 2016, at least when the hearing actually addressed that, and now it’s all just housekeeping. But Sheldon Whitehouse would just like to mention one more time that shell corporations are very risky, GOODBYE! Now shut up, Brian Williams, THE END.